Running on an uneven surface, such as sand or grass, increases the number of calories you burn with each step. Your body burns extra energy on uneven surfaces just to keep you stabilized and to propel you forward from a sunken position.
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Calorie Burning Factors
Running 6 mph, which is a 10-minute mile, burns between 300 and 400 calories per 30 minutes of activity, depending on your weight. A 125-pound person is on the lower end of the calorie burning scale, and a person weighing 185 pounds will burn more, according to Harvard University. The Running Advisor reports that running on sand burns 1.6 times the amount of calories burned running on a hard surface.
Another benefit of running on the sand is that you can run barefoot. However, the Running Advisor warns that the muscles in your feet should first be conditioned to run barefoot on the sand. You can accomplish this by slowly building up your strength. At first, limit your barefoot runs to 20 minutes, and gradually increase your time as you become stronger.
One of the many benefits of running is leg strength. Your core, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and ankles all get a workout from running. The workout is increased when running on sand.