There’s plenty of discussion about being beach-ready for summer, and what better way to get ready, than on the beach itself?
Sand-based sport or training is not a new concept but it is increasingly being used across a number of sports due to a host of benefits that it brings.
Let’s face it, being on the beach is great. The atmosphere is chilled, they’re beautiful places to be, the weather is normally glorious plus you have a free ice bath in the form of the ocean to take a quick cooling dip! What’s not to love!
Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation
We all know kids are more prone to bumps and scrapes as they learn to run, jump and balance, so the soft surface of sand helps cushion the impact of limbs and joints on the ground and lessens the likelihood of injury.
Due to the shock-absorptive qualities of sand, it helps dissipate this level of stress on the body, allowing for more use of low-impact weight-bearing exercise, perfect for learners of gross motor skills, and also great for injury rehabilitation.
Unconvinced? Take a look at Gareth Bale returning from injury at Real Madrid.
Furthermore, including playing on sand adds variety from regular training surfaces, and the lessened impact on the body means that the body feels less stress, lowering the risk of overuse injuries.
Get Stronger, Quicker
Exercise nerds Pinnington & Dawson have been researching sand-based fitness for years, and in one of their studies found that the energy cost (EC) of exercising on sand is 1.5 times greater aerobic EC and 2.5 times greater anaerobic EC when compared with grass.
To cut the science jargon, kids will improve physical strength & fitness quicker by training on sand rather than firm surfaces over the same time period, making it a more cost-efficient way to get fit.
Core Strength and Muscle Fibre Recruitment
Working out on unstable surfaces is proven to help aid core muscle engagement – crucial muscles used at an early age to develop young sportspeople. Training on sand uses more muscle mass & recruits muscle fibres not normally used – many of which are often weaker.
Plyometrics, SAQ (speed, agility, quickness) and core stabilisation are crucial across all sports, so playing on sand is a great way to hit all of those key areas.
Reduced Muscle Soreness
You may think that given the higher energy cost (EC) that playing sports on sand brings, that the muscle soreness will be more intense the next day. Well, not quite. A study by Impellizzeri et al on British soccer players found that the level of muscle soreness in those training on the sand was far less than on firmer surfaces due to reduced muscle damage.
Explosive Performance Levels
The same study found that plyometric training on sand actually increased the performance in 10m and 20m sprint times, and increased distance in a standing squat jump. So the cost efficiency of exercising on sand not only saves you training time, it hurts less and actually improves your ability even more; it’s a no brainer!
Almost any sport can be adapted to be played on sand, making it the perfect place to try a number of sports while sweating it out and strengthening your body.
Oli joined Proactiv Sports to take up the Head of Soccer role, having spent the previous three years in Hong Kong coaching soccer. He has a degree in Sport & Exercise Science and previously coached in the UK and Brazil. His experience & attitude to coaching means he is capable of leading sessions for all ages, from 2 years to 18+.