Dr. Ragland for Well+Good - Should You Be Running on the Beach?

 Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma via Well+Good

Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma via Well+Good

Few things beat a summertime beach workout (just ask Halle Berry), but if at some point you hear the siren song of the shoreline begging you to run along it, is it okay to leave your sneakers behind and go barefoot? ...

New York City-based podiatrist and foot surgeon Yolanda Ragland, DPM, agrees that running barefoot in the sand offers up a more challenging workout—but that added intensity can create problems. “You can wind up spraining your ankle, getting plantar fasciitis, or straining, tearing, or rupturing your Achilles [tendon],” she says, noting that broken shells and other such natural hazards are also a risk. “[Therefore], running with sneakers is best, but you can work up to running without them gradually.”

On the plus side, all barefoot beach runners—experienced or not—can avoid injury by following a few specific guidelines. For starters, Ragland advises running close to the water, where the sand is more stable. She also says to be sure you’ve selected a flat stretch of sand and that your feet are moving on the same plane and not at different angles. (Often, the tide cuts into the beach in a way that creates a slope—you’ll want to run below or above this.)

For newbies, Ragland offers some additional advice: “Always start off running for far less time than you do on normal surfaces or treadmills,” she advises. “Gradually increase your time on the sand by two-to-three-minute intervals per day to acclimate and allow your feet to make muscle accommodations.” ...

Big thank you to the amazing journalist Erin Bunch for including Ragland's perspective. Read the full story and be sure to follow Bunch's stories!