Sand Walking Exercises
Walking on the sand is great exercise and requires more exertion than walking on a hard surface. Tendons, ligaments and muscles all must work harder when walking in the sand because your foot sinks into the surface. If you overdo your barefoot walking on the sand, however, you could get shin splints, painful tendons and sore feet. To avoid these injuries, strengthen the underused muscles to make walking on the sand easier.
Walking on the sand requires strong feet and calf muscles. Performing calf raises, either barefoot or in shoes, will strengthen your feet and calves. Stand on the edge of a step with the balls of your feet on the step, toes pointed straight forward and your heels hanging off. Go up onto your tippy toes as high as you can, pause and then slowly lower as far as you can, gently stretching your Achilles tendon. Work up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Variations include pointing the toes inward, outward and doing one leg at a time.
Walking lunges are a good all-around lower body strengthening exercise that also challenge your core and balance. The stronger your legs and core, the easier it is to walk on the sand. One of the best ways to do lunges is to do them in the sand, either with or without shoes. Walking lunges are like an exaggerated type of walking, taking extra-long, deep strides. With your hands on your hips, take a long stride forward with your right leg and then bend your left knee and lower it to the sand. Straighten your left leg, bring it forward to meet the right leg and then take a long stride forward with the left leg. Bend the right knee and drop it to the sand. Doing lunges in the sand versus doing them on a hard surface allows for a deeper stride since you can safely hit the sand with the back knee without causing injury.
The yoga pose known as the “tree pose” is great for strengthening your feet and your core as well as testing your balance. Shift all your weight to your right foot, grab your left foot and place your left heel against your right inner thigh as high as you can, so you are balancing on just one foot. Your pelvis and center of gravity should be directly above that foot. Hold your hands folded in front of you or straighten your arms and reach for the sky. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and switch sides for the same amount of time. By standing on one leg, your feet, ankles and calves will be ready for a walk on the beach.
Walking on the Sand
Runners train by running, cyclists train by cycling. So walking on the sand is a good way to prepare your body to walk on the sand. Walking slowly on the sand requires more effort than walking quickly or jogging, according to DiscoverWalking.com. The website states that “walking in the sand requires 2.1 to 2.7 times more energy than walking on a hard surface” and “jogging in sand uses 1.6 times more energy than jogging on hard surfaces.”
- "Yoga Journal": Tree Pose
- Petersen E, Zech A, Hamacher D. Walking barefoot vs. with minimalist footwear - influence on gait in younger and older adults. BMC Geriatr. 2020;20(1):88. doi:10.1186/s12877-020-1486-3
- National Weather Service. Sneaker/high waves and log rolls can be deadly.
- Wyles KJ, Pahl S, Holland M, Thompson RC. Can beach cleans do more than clean-up litter? Comparing beach cleans to other coastal activities. Environ Behav. 2017;49(5):509–535. doi:10.1177/0013916516649412
Becky Miller, an ACE-certified personal trainer, has designed strength training programs for people of all ages and fitness levels since 2001. She specializes in empowering women of the baby-boomer generation. Her writing career began in 2004, authoring weekly fitness columns and feature articles for the "Navarre Press" in Florida. She earned her B.S. in business from the University of Colorado.