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Ever wonder why the beach babes of Baywatch ran across the sand to save lives in slow motion? It’s because it’s frickin’ hard, so those chopped-n-screwed scenes were actually accurate. Fitness enthusiasts often elect to take their workouts to the beachfront for the challenge of added resistance. This added resistance can help improve running speed and agility while providing a low impact workout surface.
The surrounding scenery isn’t too bad either.
Choosing to include sand as an element of your workout has added benefits. Compared to hard surfaces, sand is more pliable, which helps with shock absorption. It’s less impact and better for the joints, which is great for anyone dealing with injuries. When running, jumping, pushing or pulling, the sand adds resistance. This means a greater challenge and an added caloric burn! By consistently working in the sand, you can build strength, coordination, and stability over time because it forces you to work in a way you wouldn’t have to otherwise, raising awareness of core and intrinsic muscle activation.
While working out on the sand has its benefits, it isn’t perfect. The pliable texture is great for protecting the joints, but it can cause or worsen plantar fasciitis, especially with barefoot workouts. If practicing poor form in running or landing, there’s a chance of injury in the form of a twisted ankle. There’s also a chance of sharp objects lying around, increasing the risk of injury.The beach isn’t for everyone, and luckily there are options for those who would rather sit in gum than workout outdoors. Gyms and studios across the country are adding indoor sandboxes to their spaces. If you saw a giant adult-sized sandbox in your head after reading that last sentence, then you have the right idea.
I was just getting used to the traditional gym spaces I had been working in before accepting my position at Sandbox Fitness in Sherman Oaks, California. I’ve been a group fitness instructor for Sandbox Fitness for over two years now and what I love most about it is that the sand continues to inspire me. Each week I have the opportunity to create new workouts and experience the workouts designed by my colleagues.
The sandbox is a wonderful idea for those who want the benefits of sand workouts without actually having to go to the beach. The equipment needed for your workout is readily available indoors. Sandbells, dumb bells, weighted bars, mini bands, TRX straps, and resistance tubes are all utilized by the instructors to keep the classes different and exciting.
The major selling point of this studio is the fact that they offer classes that utilize the Surfset Board, which you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. The Surfset Board simulates the motion of an actual surfboard on water, which creates instability and an emphasis on core engagement.Combining the resistance of the sand and the unsteadiness of the Surfset Board can add a new level of complexity to your workout, providing muscle confusion and keeping it exciting. The Surfset Board is one of my favorite pieces of the Sandbox Fitness experience because it adds an even greater sense of the beach.
For those far from Los Angeles who are interested in an indoor beach experience, there are a few other places that can provide. Chelsea Piers Fitness has locations in Chelsea and Brooklyn, New York and offers Personal Training, Volleyball, and Surfset classes, all in the designated Sand Court. Texas Image Sand of Grand Prairie, Texas has a similar class offering, junior and adult sand volleyball tournaments, private training, and low-cost group training as well.
Whether indoor or outdoor, the sand will give your body the challenge it’s been needing. Give it a try!