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Answer from Doc Derman: The problems with running on the beach are that the sand “gives way” under the feet, the return for the energy you expend is low and you have to work harder to enjoy your workout.
Generally, your body is given a harder workout, the biomechanics of motion are taken to the edge and your core muscles are taxed. The beach can also be sloped, placing even more strain on your biomechanics. Unless you are fit for beach exercise and you have both a strong core and relatively good biomechanics, you’re going to suffer.
Get your trainer or biokineticist to draw up a programme, which includes proprioceptive work, eccentric ankle exercise and core stability. Start off slowly with short periods of exercise, and when strain-free, gradually increase your time on the beach. And keep to the wet sand, it’s more compact and gives better energy return.
Prof Wayne Derman is associate professor of sport medicine at the UCT/Sports Science Institute of South Africa.