"Take an hour a day to chill out and relax. It can be gardening or listening to music. Or walk the dog. Just do anything but work…Just you and your alone time. Don’t compromise on this."
Cikipedia, a blog I have been following since this summer, has for its latest entry (http://cikipedia.com/how-to-reduce-stress-in-your-life) a discussion on "How To Reduce Stress in your Life."
Of the many practical tips on de-stressing mentioned, the Bicolano Penguin zeroed in on the Alone Time proposition. How it is an amazing idea and how one can do a countless things on one’s alone time.
And by some quirky irony, my memory flew back to a delightful alone time I had in one of the latter days of May. For more than an hour, I ran barefoot in the sandy beach of Pico de Loro.
It was before 6 in the morning and the beach was practically to myself. After some stretching, I proceeded to trot which progressed into a canter. In the process, I was mindful of several tips I gathered from Cikipedia (http://cikipedia.com/7-tips-for-barefoot-running-on-the-beach) which included among others the following:
- Don’t run on sharp pebbly or barnacled/coral sand barefoot.
- Choose slightly wet, firm sand.
- Choose level ground.
I totally enjoyed the experience. Totally and singularly relaxing. No worries. No company to talk to. Just the beach and me. Fresh sea breeze. Lots of endorphins in the air. After a while, a handful of beach goers started streaming to the shoreline. This gave me an opportunity to ask one of them to take photos of me in action. Running this good for me needed to be documented.
In addition to its relaxing effect, running barefoot in the beach has its physiological benefits as well. I refer to several studies made by scholarly institutions, as pointed out by Jake Shoemaker (http://runnersfeed.com/running-on-the-beach-the-benefits-dangers/):
1)For those running to lose weight, beach running is much less efficient than road running. According to a study performed by The Journal of Experimental Biology, an athlete running on soft beach sand expends close to one and a half times more energy than an individual running on the road. Vacationers who want to sustain some level of fitness but who also want to decrease their training time while they are on vacation may like the idea of soft sand beach running as an efficient calorie burning workout.
2)A Griffith University (Queensland, Australia) study concluded that landing on soft sand increases the “collision” time, or the time during which the foot sinks into the sand, and therefore reduces the overall stress of pounding on the lower extremities.
3)The increase in collision time on soft sand also indicates that sand has less rebound than pavement, which forces the quadriceps, hip flexors and gluteus muscles to all engage more than they do on a normal run.
4)According to a University of Western Australia study comparing running on firm surfaces to running on soft beach sand, an athlete’s workload as measured by proximity to VO2 max increased by nearly 50 percent when carrying over a pace from the road to the sand. Now, this concept is intuitive because the previously noted studies acknowledge an increase in work when running on soft sand. However, the University of Western Australia’s study suggests that since an athlete has to push into the sand with greater force to go a certain speed, athletes who run on soft sand build more power at a given speed than they would if they were running on the road at the same speed.
A big bonus also of running in the beach on my alone time was the chance to be e in touch with nature more. And on the sands, an alluring beach creature is the hermit crab. They are decapod crustacean of the superfamily Paguroidea. Most of the 1100 species possess an asymmetrical abdomen which is concealed in an empty gastropod shell that is carried around by the hermit crab.
On the beach of Pico de Loro, there are thousands of them crawling and one attracted my attention while I rested after my hour-long run. Observing how it strongly soldiered on with the big weight of the shell on its back, even being able to crawl over high obstacles, a long distance runner can get inspiration from this hermit and learn a thing or 2 on chillin.