Play on the Beach

Why You Should Play on the Beach

Long walks on the beach are nice as is taking a sun bath, but there is so much more value to be found at the beach.

Beaches are places of amazing movement potential sure you can challenge your body in a gym but you will find more challenges and way more fun on a beach.

Beaches often offer driftwood, boulders, sand and of course water. Driftwood logs can be balanced, jumped between, raced along, lifted, carried, thrown, used to bat rocks, or danced with, boulder fields provide an environment were running, jumping, quadrupedal movement and climbing often have to be cycled through so quickly it becomes hard to define where one capacity begins and another ends.

Driftwood, boulder, and sand offer far more proprioceptive feedback and movement challenge then the straight lines and consistent textures of a gym or urban space. Sand teaches us different strategies for applying force to the ground, provides softer surfaces to attempt acrobatics, or wrestle and spar in, and in the water we can swim, wade, dive, and practice apnea.

The challenge is not just too the movement capacities of our body and nervous system but also to our robustness to the elements, temperatures change quickly, wind and sun chap the skin, the sand and rock abrade it. These too we can adapt too and we become more adaptable resilient people by facing these challenges and not spending our lives in air conditioned, electrically lit spaces.

We also get the wonderful psychological benefits of being near moving water and in green spaces, and being near living things, we can stop our training session to watch an eagle fly by, examine a tide pool teaming with sea anemomes and seastars, and chase crabs or frogs. At the end of the day you will feel far more happy after playing in these conditions then stopping between bench sets to watch ESPN highlights for the third time.

So go train on the beach, race down a driftwood field, flip of a rock, wrestle with a friend, swim in the ocean and dance with a driftwood log. While your at it feel free to watch eagles and herons, catch frogs and crabs, and take a moment to enjoy the wind the waves and the sun.

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Rafe

I’ve been a movement teacher for 12 years. Beginning as a child, I practiced various martial arts, started gymnastics at age 15, and parkour at 23. I was also lucky enough to grow up at the end of a dirt road surrounded by woods. I spent my childhood climbing trees, hiking up creek beds, swimming, and throwing rocks and sticks. Learn more.

Comments (1)

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    Neil Hill

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    Rafe, you’ve kind of said it all – great piece. The unpredictability of nature not only adds level upon level of interest and challenge – but for me allows me to draw on energy I didn’t know I had. When I am truly in tune with the mountain or the forest or the rock an instinct that is almost animal takes over….. there becomes a flow and an ease and a deep sense of rooted joy. Thank you for sharing this…..

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