Five Tips for a Better Beach Walk!
There are many benefits to walking on the beach. But make sure you know the right techniques to minimize post-walk soreness.
Foot-Joy Reflexology took a nice, long walk on the beach recently. We certainly expected that we might feel this "workout" the next day, but little did we know how much our feet, calves, and legs would hurt. So, it made us curious why this exercise had such an effect on us and how we might possibly avoid some of the aches in the future.
Here are some of the things we found out:
Beach walking requires greater effort than a hard surface. Everything works harder when you walk on the beach, from your muscles to your joints and tendons. Your feet often sink into the loose sand, so it takes significantly more energy to lift your foot.
Pace yourself when beach walking. Because of the extra effort you need to exert, you can get tired quickly. For this reason, start out at a slow pace that you think you can maintain for your entire walk. If you're feeling good at the halfway mark, you can always pick up the speed on the return trip.
Avoid doing too much. Don't make Foot-Joy's mistake and head out on a four-mile walk right out of the gate. You should start with distances shorter than you would normally walk on a treadmill or outside, and only once or twice a week. Give your muscles and tendons time to adapt to this more strenuous walking before you increase mileage or frequency.
You might want to wear shoes instead of going barefoot. If you're just going for a brief stroll, then barefoot is fine. But, if you're aiming for a longer walk, then wearing shoes might be a good idea. First, shoes save your feet from burning on hot sand and getting cut on shards of glass or broken seashells. Second, being barefoot actually can add to the strain on your muscles and tendons, while a good walking shoe can provide support. It doesn't have to be all or nothing - you could start off wearing shoes and then take them off at times to feel the sand or ocean on your toes and work on strengthening feet and ankles.
Have a good post-walk routine. This should include a cool-down, which can include walking slowly on a hard surface and stretching and rolling. If you do get any aches in your legs or back later that day or the next morning, then icing those sore areas can help reduce inflammation and aid recovery.
Don't forget to keep up your self-care protocol this summer. Getting regular reflexology sessions can help innervate the tendons and muscles in your lower limbs and relieve swelling and pain from overactivity.