Just the thought of taking a long walk barefoot on a sandy beach is enough to make most people let out a daydreaming sigh. It’s no secret that walking barefoot on sand has its appeal, but did you know that it also has health benefits?
Here are a few reasons why you should disconnect and enjoy a nice barefoot walk on the beach this summer:
- Build Strength: if you’re ever walked on sand you know that it can be quite difficult. In fact, scientists estimate that it takes 2-3x more energy to walk or run on sand than on hard surfaces. This extra energy is used to strengthen the muscles, from your feet to your back.
- Burn Calories: all of that additional energy used on your walk has to come from somewhere. Actually, a study showed that you can expect to burn approximately 50% more calories by walking or running on sand.
- Improve Proprioception: proprioception is our ability to our position in space. Thickly-padded shoes can numb this ability, numbing the 3,000-7,000 nerve endings in each of our feet. Walking barefoot on sand can help your mind reconnect with these nerves.
- Gait Analysis: this may appeal more to runner than walkers, but walking/running on sand is a great way to assess your stride. The indentations in the sand provide us insight on how our feet function.
- Relaxation: while not directly associated with walking barefoot, spending time at the beach is good for the body and mind. In fact, a study from the University of Exeter suggested that people who spent more time on beaches had less stress and better overall health.
Other benefits of walking barefoot on sand include naturally exfoliating your feed and boosting your Vitamin D, which is plentiful on a sunny beach. Increase levels of Vitamin D have been shown to improve calcium absorption, immune response and even mood.
Whether you’re into grounding (feeling the Earth’s energy by being barefoot), or simply want some good exercise, long walks on the beach are a way to clear our minds and give our bodies much needed exercise.
PS: If you ever experience back pain, knee or foot pain when walking on the beach, feel free to click below and schedule with one of our Foot/Ankle specialists! Beach walking should be a joy. If it is not we can help!