Friday, June 29, 2007

Sand walking: a killer workout

Oh. My. God.

I discovered sand walking this week. Talk about a killer workout.

Before sand walking, I was doing brisk-but-not-brutal walks along the boardwalk by the Pacific Ocean, five mornings a week.

I usually set off on my walk around six a.m. This is a time of day when only die-hard joggers, dog walkers and the occasional urban wastrel can be found along the beaches of my Southern California city.

Each morning, I set out from my house and head down the hill toward the sea. Ten minutes later I hit the Strand, a cement pathway that parallels the shore. I pump my arms, striding vigorously. I feel virtuous. My forward-canted pace is bouncy with the belief that today, I will wrestle my demons-of-the-flesh to earth. Today, I will take control of my body.

But no matter how hard I push my heel-toe cadence, rocking along to my Jenny Craig walking tapes, I can’t seem to boost my heart rate into the fat burning zone.

And I can’t lose weight.

I’ve read that this is because your body “adjusts” to a workout. (I say, if your body “adjusts” to a workout, why can’t it “adjust” to overeating, and not put on pounds?)

So I’ve been looking for a way to shake up my routine. And then, last week, I looked west toward the Pacific Ocean. And saw: The Sand.

I’ll just walk on the sand, I thought. Maybe that will be different. I stepped into the Sand Zone.

And yes, sand walking was different. Sand walking was so different that five minutes later, I was beet-faced and gasping for breath. After only five minutes, I had to retreat back to the Strand, sucking in air like a stressed-out puffer fish.

Understand that I’m not talking about walking on the wet, hard-packed sand by the water, where you can dangle your flip-flops from your pinkie finger while you stroll along the surf, looking sexy.

I’m talking the killer white, uneven, fluffy stuff. Try looking sexy walking across that.

I did a little research and discovered that when you walk on sand, your caloric output increases by as much as fifty percent.

And my scales have noticed the difference. I lost two pounds this week, without changing what I eat. Hallelujah!

Now, if only I could write sand walking into my second mystery, A KILLER WORKOUT, which is coming out in 2008. But that story is set in the Great Smoky Mountains, which are short on beaches.

However, they do have cliffs, where you have to really watch your step.

Mountain climbing as aerobic activity. Hmm…I’ll have to try that and report back.


Deb Baker said...

I tried to climb to the top of Phoenix's Camelback Mountain, the scene of the crime in Dolled Up For Murder. I gave it everything I had but only made it halfway. Someday, I'm going all the way.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Good for you for making it even halfway, Deb! To me, walking up the hill from the beach to my house feels like a mountain hike!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


I wish I were near enough a beach to do this. I love beaches. Sigh.


Camille Minichino said...

My next blog will be about a beach, and will also have a photo of sand ... but it will be mini-sand!
My beach is only about 6 inches square. Maybe that's why I don't get enough exercise!


Paige said...

Great post! I was doing a little research about walking in the sand and found your blog. Now I'm not sure if I should recommend sand walking or not. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't know how current this blog is...Oh I see it is from 2007? Is that right? Well, if someone should get on here now, in 2011, they will see that I just started it for the same reason you did...not losing anything and walking like mad on concrete. I started 2 days ago in sneakers on the dry sand. I went 1/2 a mile, and was huffing and, 2 days later, I went without shoes and went about 3/4 of a mile...what a sweat! I felt so good after. I did about 45 minutes, and while I was out there another guy was doing it too...he also had weights, and I think I might try that next time (some 1# weights). Pretty cool to have a "free" workout area.