Q: I walk on the beach in soft and hard areas for about an hour at a time. I feel like I get more of a workout in the sandy areas of the beach; they are my aerobics areas. Am I burning more calories walking on the beach than if I walked on a regular surface? Should I keep measuring my calories as if I walked on a trail in the park or on asphalt?
A: If you are walking for 60 minutes on the beach several times a week, you are getting a great workout. Walking on sand works your leg muscles harder. In fact, you need to be careful that you don’t overstress your feet and inflame the plantar fascia. Be sure to stretch thoroughly afterward, especially your calves.
Calorie estimates are pretty general. You can certainly assume that you are burning a little more than if you were walking on a flat sidewalk. But what’s much more important is that you enjoy your walks and take them consistently. That’s the road to effective weight and health management.
It depends on what you like: If you want the most calorie burn and you love the beach, walk there. But if you love variety, then walk in lots of different places and be happy with the varieties in calorie burn. When it comes to burning calories, it’s always good to keep your body guessing what you’re going to do next!