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Walking on the beach is a great way to enjoy the scenery, breathe in the fresh air and relax your mind. It is also a great form of exercise that can burn more calories than walking on flat, harder surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. In this article we’ll explore reasons why walking on the beach is good exercise and how you can get the most out of your holiday beachwalks.
Here in Dorset, we are blessed with some of the most stunning stretches of beaches in the whole of the UK. From the bustling, bright lights of Bournemouth to the sprawling 18 mile shoreline of Chesil beach, there is something for every beach lover to enjoy.
But a trip to the beach doesn’t have to be simply about building sandcastles or dipping a toe in the water – it can also work wonders for your health and wellbeing, contributing to your recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week. Here are some of the benefits:
A brisk walk on sand or shingle can increase your heart rate and blood circulation, which can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Walking on the beach can work your muscles and bones more than walking on other surfaces, because of the resistance and instability of the sand or shingle. This can help tone your legs, glutes, calves and feet, as well as improve your balance and coordination.
Proximity to the sea is often associated with improved mood and mental wellbeing, while walking is known to stimulate the production of endorphins and serotonin in your brain that help you feel happy and relaxed. Walking on the beach can also reduce stress, anxiety and depression by exposing you to natural light, fresh air and soothing sounds.
A beach walk exposes you to natural light, promoting your body's circadian rhythm and production of melatonin, crucial for sleep. The soothing sounds of the ocean can also reduce stress and anxiety, preparing your mind for a restful night, while the physical activity also supports a good night’s rest.
Walking on the beach exposes you to sunlight, helping your body produce vitamin D, which is essential for your immune system and skin health. It can also expose you to salt water which, due to its high mineral content, is thought to help certain skin conditions, such as eczema and inflammation.
The answer is yes! Walking on the beach can burn 2.7 times more energy than walking on solid, flat terrain as your body has to work harder to lift your feet off the loose surface.
This means while an average 30 minute walk will normally burn approximately 170 calories, the same walk on a beach could burn more than 400 – that’s a significant difference!
However, the exact amount of calories you burn depends on several factors, such as your weight, age, metabolism and wind resistance. To get a more accurate estimate of how many calories you burn walking on the beach, you can use an online calculator or fitness tracker that takes these factors into account.
Sand is softer and more unstable than other surfaces meaning you have to work your muscles and joints harder. While this can have numerous health benefits, it can also increase the risk of injury if you’re not careful. Here are some tips on how to walk on sand safely and effectively:
Walking on the beach can be gentle and relaxing, or bracing and challenging, depending on the weather. Whether it’s a warm summer’s day in July or a windy, wild afternoon in January, it is always important to wear appropriate clothing and accessories that can protect you from these elements and make you comfortable. Here are some suggestions on what to wear for a walk on the beach:
If you’re looking to get more active or lose weight through walking, LiveWell Dorset is here to help. We have helped thousands of people across Dorset achieve their health goals and we’d love to help you too!
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