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Sand Xer­cise

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Explore the Sci­ence and Ben­e­fits Asso­ci­ated with Exer­cise in the Sand

Sand is softer…
Nat­ural Cushion

Instead of pound­ing your joints and feet on hard pave­ment, sand acts as a nat­ural cush­ion. Health advo­cates say that walk­ing bare­foot grounds us. At the very least, it recon­nects us to nature’s beauty which helps reduce stress as life finds per­spec­tive. Move­ment in the sand made with bare feet ampli­fies our inner sense of well­ness and con­nec­tion to nature in a same way that run­ning out­side can do this rather than run­ning on a tread­mill. The tac­tual ori­en­ta­tion of bare feet in the sand pro­vides an ampli­fied kind of “WAKE UP” effect of all the mus­cles in our body, most typ­i­cally lower limbs (feet, knees, hips & lower back), and con­se­quently cre­ates a bet­ter sta­bi­liza­tion, bal­ance and pro­pri­o­cep­tion response.

Bare­foot Softness

The ratio­nale behind exer­cise in “bare feet” is that not only will there be an increase in recruit­ment of intrin­sic weight bear­ing mus­cles of the feet and lower limbs, but that there will be as well a height­ened sen­sory stim­u­la­tion to the brain. This sen­sory stim­u­la­tion comes in the form of pro­pri­o­cep­tive stim­u­la­tion, as was dis­cussed ear­lier in the sec­tions “Move­ment Charges Your Brain” and “Pro­pri­o­cep­tion Exer­cises”. It also comes from stim­u­la­tion of the tra­di­tional pri­mary senses of smell, sight and hear­ing, which are acti­vated while exer­cis­ing in the sand. This bom­bard­ment of senses acts as a dis­trac­tion of sorts that allows us to move deeper into the healthy and proper full range move­ment of all weight bear­ing joints of the body. It has been the­o­rized (see “The Ground­ing or Earth­ing Fac­tor” — pg. 6) that the grains of SAND them­selves, and the way in which they pro­vide a for­giv­ing sur­face upon which to play or move, are a pow­er­ful way to improve one’s sense of con­nec­tion with nature. Since the soles of our feet have more sweat glands and nerve end­ings per square cen­time­ter than any other part of your body, then it is under­stand­able that walk­ing bare­foot, espe­cially on a tex­tured sur­face like sand, will stim­u­late them much more than walk­ing in shoe. So not only are you stim­u­lat­ing nerve end­ings when you walk on the sand, but you are also strength­en­ing the mus­cles in your feet, which don’t get used nearly as much when you’re wear­ing shoes. Walk­ing, run­ning or play­ing in sand, much like swim­ming in water or ski­ing on moun­tains is found to be invig­o­rat­ing for one’s full body health. Move­ment in the sand also chal­lenges the whole body, espe­cially the larger mus­cle groups and weight bear­ing joints includ­ing the spine, hips, knees and feet.

Soft is Safe

As the par­ti­cles in sand “give way” when stepped on, all move­ments in the sand are lower impact on the bones, joints and mus­cles than move­ments on hard ground. The sand also acts like a cush­ion and pro­vides safety for not only falls, but also pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge to work­ing mus­cles, which must learn to lift the body’s weight up against grav­ity on the chal­leng­ing soft surface.

Soft­est Balance:

Coor­di­na­tion and pro­pri­o­cep­tive joint con­trol: This requires the body to sta­bi­lize much more dur­ing spe­cific weight bear­ing move­ment related activ­i­ties. Sand also pro­vides more pro­pri­o­cep­tive input through the joints in the feet, legs and spine to the brain, which helps increase the neu­ro­log­i­cal stim­u­la­tion of the brain — in other words “feeds the brain”.

Sand is harder…
Walk harder

Walk­ing in sand requires a greater effort than walk­ing on a hard sur­face so your intrin­sic joint mus­cles, ten­dons & lig­a­ments will work harder to sup­port your weight bear­ing joints as your feet move around. Walk­ing at a slower pace while your feet sink in sand requires more effort of more mus­cles (con­cen­tric & eccen­tric) than hard sur­face walk­ing or running.

Harder Work­out

Walk­ing in sand requires 2.1 to 2.7 times more energy than walk­ing on hard surfaces1 and run­ning in sand uses 1.6 times more energy than jog­ging on hard sur­faces. For most of us burn­ing calo­ries is one of the ben­e­fits of any exer­cise. One the pri­mary ben­e­fits of walk­ing on a beach is that you will use 20 to 50 per­cent more calo­ries than you would walk­ing at the same pace on a hard sur­face. esearch today shows that the mus­cles and joints of your pow­er­ful feet and leg mus­cles have to work up to 60% harder in the sand than they do when walk­ing on a firm paved surface17. In the sport of vol­ley­ball, indoor play­ers who switch from the hard gym sur­face to the beach will tell you how it takes them time to develop their “sand legs”. Today we now know why as mod­ern research reveals the height­ened exer­tion of effort required by the recruit­ment of the deeper lay­ers of intrin­sic sta­bi­liz­ing mus­cles of all joints of the lower limbs dur­ing sand based gait.

…and Sand is fun.
Gonna Soak Up the Sun:

Stud­ies state that many Cana­di­ans are Vit­a­min D defi­cient. You will soak up nat­ural Vit­a­min D from the sun as you stroll.

Group Fun in the Sun:

It is often dif­fi­cult to keep up one’s own rit­ual of exer­cise daily, but when part of a group, there is a large increase in com­pli­ance, moti­va­tion and enjoy­ment. Some exam­ples of effec­tive group exer­cise are: walk­ing, run­ning, Tai Chi, Nordic pole walk­ing, bocce, bowl­ing, golf, cycling, ten­nis, hik­ing and aqua-​fitness. The chal­lenge with many of these group exer­cises is the abil­ity to include a move­ment sur­face that has the max­i­mal health ben­e­fits for seniors. This is some­thing that exer­cis­ing in the sand addresses. Look­ing at the health­i­est pop­u­la­tions around the world, another of the secrets to longevity may very well be found in not only doing exer­cise, but doing it in a socially ori­ented and group activ­ity based way. Because hang­ing out in the sand is more relax­ing, most peo­ple find more enjoy­ment in this “nat­ural” expe­ri­ence than that of going on a tread­mill, track or city street. Pedome­ter steps nat­u­rally increase with less effort.

And.. it’s Fun:

Sand is often asso­ci­ated with the beach. And what is more fun…than spend­ing time in the sand!

To learn more or reg­is­ter for classes visit:


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