Finding five ways to exercise living near or visiting Virginia Beach, Virginia has many benefits. One of, if not the largest benefit, is our famous stretch of beach and boardwalk. Virginia Beach has a world-renowned sand beach and 3-mile long boardwalk that provides numerous opportunities for exercise and has frequent national events including sand soccer, volley ball, Something In the Water, and even Monster truck rallies. When you combine any two of these activities, you can find at least five fun ways to exercise at the beach.

Something In The Water Crowd - WTKR TV

You do not need a gym membership to find fun ways to exercise in our region. Recently, we published a blog about Coastal Virginia walking trails that provide a great starting point for your exercise journey.

From sunrise walks to yoga and biking, there are many ways to enjoy our regional beaches. Here are our five fun ways to exercise at the beach…and tips.

Go For A Walk

People walking on beach
Exercising at the beach

Go for a walk on a sandy beach in Virginia or walk along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Both provide healthy and free exercise. If your choice is to walk on a sandy beach, be sure to follow these tips from The Therapy Network: 

  1. When walking on sand, start slow and practice moderation. Walking is low-impact aerobic exercise, but you do have to adjust to each step sinking in the sand.

  2. Wear shoes. You may be tempted to walk on the beach barefoot, but being barefoot puts more tension on your tendons and joints.

  3. Set your beach walking schedule around low tide. You can avoid the slope of the sand if you walk at low tide and near the water.

Enjoy a walk at sunrise, a mid-day workout, or an evening stroll. Walking on the beach or the adjacent boardwalk is a fun way to enjoy the beach and the benefits of exercise.

Yoga and Pilates

Many use yoga and Pilates to reduce stress, exercise, and tone. Add beautiful beach scenery and you have the perfect recipe for a fun activity on the beach. Here are some helpful tips for beach yoga and Pilates from the therapists at The Therapy Network: 

  1. Leave the mat at home. It is perfectly OK to leave your yoga mat at home for your next beach yoga experience. Let the soft Virginia sand be your mat.

  2. But remember the sunscreen. Beach yoga and Pilates reduce stress and help you relax, but do not relax your efforts to prevent skin cancer. We always suggest sunscreen when exercising outdoors, especially at the beach.

  3. Remember to hydrate. Bring your favorite water bottle and remember to hydrate.

If yoga or Pilates is part of your fitness routine, we are sure you will want to add it to your five ways to exercise at the beach.

Go For a Run

You may be a runner that has a bucket list of favorite runs. Running along the water's edge on a Virginia Beach may be on that list. But running on the beach comes with a set of challenges, and it is crucial to follow these tips below to stay safe and prevent injury:  

  1.  Keep long runs to the boardwalk. Running on sand is challenging, making it difficult to run for a long time.

  2. If you do decide to run on the soft Virginia sand, ensure that you change direction often to compensate for the slope of the beach. Set your schedule to run at low tide and on the firm sand along the waterline.

  3. As with walking, always wear shoes when running on the beach.

  4. With any exercise on the beach, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

If you are new to running, be sure to discuss both your running plan and your beach running plan with a professional. A professional therapist can provide custom tips and ensure your shoes are well-fitted.

Swimming in the Ocean or Chesapeake Bay

Although swimming is an excellent source of exercise, swimming in the ocean's open waters or Chesapeake Bay takes some pre-planning and experience. Here are some essential tips:

  1. Review the NOAA Rip Current Survival Guide  

  2. Only swim in a lifeguarded area

  3. Never swim alone

  4. Be Aware: Heed weather and water conditions and warnings.

Although swimming is of the top five ways to exercise at the beach, it is crucial to swim responsibly and heed all warnings.

Biking, Kayaking, and Paddle Boarding

Coastal Virginia has a unique infrastructure for biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding. All three are fun ways to exercise at the beach and surrounding waterways.

Need a bike? A favorite place to bike is along the flat, safe Virginia Beach Boardwalk. You will find beach bikes to rent along the way. Warm weather brings many visitors to the boardwalk. Some will be on bikes while others run or walk. For safety, we always suggest that you wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings. Please make sure to watch for those stopping to take photos.

If kayaking or paddle boarding, tell someone about your plan and when to expect your return. And ALWAYS wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). If you are looking for places to launch your kayak or SUP, check out the website Virginia Water Trails

The Therapy Network

After reading this blog, you may be thinking about enjoying these five fun ways to exercise on the beach. Fitness for these fun activities should be within your reach. However, if you are looking for a little help getting started, The therapists and athletic trainers at The Therapy Network are available to review your fitness level with a free wellness check. Remember, you never need a prescription to visit The Therapy Network.

If you live in the Hampton Roads area, there is a Therapy Network clinic near your neighborhood or place of work. We have appointments available today and do NOT require a prescription. Browse our website and make an appointment at one of our therapy centers today.

Foot and Ankle Pain should not be ignored

Foot and ankle pain is a common issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. While many people are tempted to ignore pain, addressing the problem as soon as possible is crucial. This blog will discuss why you should not ignore foot and ankle pain.

How many Americans suffer from foot and ankle problems? 

“From plantar fasciitis to heel spurs, nearly 77% of those surveyed had or are dealing with foot problems and disorders.”— 

Many of us have experienced foot and ankle pain. Our first thought is to ignore the pain. It started a slight twinge, and we quickly convinced ourselves that the pain would be gone when we woke up tomorrow.

woman rubbing painful foot and ankle

But foot and ankle pain is often a sign of a severe condition. A condition that is on the edge of impacting our daily life. Here are the reasons why you should not ignore the pain:

  • Foot pain can impact your daily life.
    Foot and ankle pain can significantly impact your ability to carry out your daily activities. If your job requires you to stand or walk for long periods, foot and ankle pain can make it challenging to complete your work. Similarly, if you enjoy sports or exercise, foot and ankle pain can prevent you from participating in these activities.

  • The pain can be a sign of a serious condition.
    In some cases, ankle and foot pain can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. For example, pain in the ankle can be a sign of arthritis, gout, or a fracture. Pain in the foot can be a sign of plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or a stress fracture. Ignoring foot and ankle pain can lead to further damage and complications.

  • Ignoring pain can lead to other issues.
    Ignoring foot and ankle pain can lead to other issues, such as balance problems, falls, and chronic pain. When you are in pain, you may alter the way you walk or stand, which can lead to other issues. For example, if you favor one foot over the other, you may develop muscle imbalances, leading to further pain and complications.

The Pain is a Warning Sign

  • The pain is a health warning sign.

  • Pain can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Ignoring the ache, burning or sharp shooting pain can lead to further complications and may make the underlying issue more challenging to treat. If you are experiencing pain, listening to your body and seeking medical attention is essential.

  • Chronic Pain can impact your mental health.
    Chronic pain can have a significant impact on your mental health. If you are experiencing chronic pain, you may feel frustrated, anxious, and depressed. You can improve your mental health and overall well-being by seeking treatment for your pain.

    • “People living with chronic pain are at heightened risk for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Chronic pain can affect sleep, increase stress levels and contribute to depression. An estimated 35% to 45% of people with chronic pain experience depression.”—

  • Foot and ankle pain can be a symptom of a systemic issue.
    In some cases, foot and ankle pain can be a symptom of a systemic issue such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as numbness or tingling, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential.

Ankle and Foot Injuries Can Be Prevented or Treated

  • Foot and ankle distress can be treated.
    Many people believe that foot and ankle pain is a normal part of life and that nothing will alleviate the pain. However, this is not true. Various treatment options are available including physical therapy, medication, and surgery. You can alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life by seeking treatment.

  • If you act, you can prevent or stop the pain.
    In some cases, foot and ankle soreness can be prevented. For example, wearing comfortable and supportive shoes can reduce your risk of developing foot and ankle pain. Stretching before and after exercise can also help prevent pain and injury.

Find Help at The Therapy Network

Lower body pain must not be ignored. It can impact your daily life, be a sign of a serious condition or systemic problem, and can affect your mental health. Foot pain can be treated and prevented; therefore, it is important to never ignore your pain. Addressing ambulatory pain as soon as possible can improve your quality of life and prevent further complications.

The Therapy Network has six locations throughout the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake with appointments available today. In Virginia, you do not need a doctor's referral to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. After reviewing the eight reasons, you should not ignore foot and ankle pain, consider scheduling an appointment today.

What’s your running persona?  Are you participating in a Couch to 5K program, training for 10K fun race or are you a regular marathon participant?  Or perhaps you enjoy cross country trail running.  Regardless, physical therapy should be a big part of your training.
 “In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” — Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

And here are some additional inspirations running quotes

Physical therapy for runners is a special and specific practice.  At The Therapy Network, our therapy specialists offer a full range of therapy options.

Running Facts for Everyone

Running can be part of a healthy lifestyle.  If you are considering participating and starting a running program, there are many smartphone apps, programs and local groups to support your start.  If you are a seasoned runner, you already know many of the benefits.  Here are a few benefits worth reviewing:

  1. Running cuts your risk of heart disease and possibly cancer.

  2. Do you want to burn up to 100 calories per mile?

  3. Running strengthens joints and bones

  4. Relieve stress with running

  5. When running outdoors, you get a healthy dose of fresh air

  6. The cost to start running for exercise and health is minimal compared to other sports.

  7. Running is part of a healthy lifestyle plan when you follow safe running guidance.

Why You Should Make Physical Therapy Part of Your Plan

With all the positive attributes of running, you may be wondering why you should include “physical therapy for runners” in your plan.  With any sport or physical activity, you must ensure that you are following the guidance to prevent injury.

If you are embarking on a running program, or if you are an experienced runner, it is time to consider booking an appointment with a running therapy specialist.

Over 60% of avid runners experience an injury each year.  That’s an injury for every 100 hours of running.  Many of the injuries can be remedied with a few days of rest, but some will need medical attention.  One way to avoid injury while enjoying running is to meet with a running therapy specialist.

Do You Have the Proper Running Gait and Shoes?

A top way to ensure that you run injury-free is to review your running gait and the fit of your shoes with arunner tying shoes specialist.  This tip is for those that are starting a couch to 5K training program and for anyone embracing running.  Even if you have been running for years, it is not too late to evaluate your gate and your favorite shoe choice.

Many running injuries are from overuse and are prevented in the future by following the guidance of a sports physical therapist.  At The Therapy Network, we offer tools for both novice and experienced runners to include:

  1. Video Analysis: A video gate analysis seeks to identify the root of an injury or a bad habit that may lead to a future injury. At TTN, we can correct any form or gait issues before they lead to an over-use injury.

  2. Running Shoes and Orthotics: A Therapy Network specialist can advise you on the best running shoe to fit your needs and if orthotics are needed. The Therapy Network is a resource for custom orthotics in Tidewater, Virginia.

Injury Recovery with Physical Therapy

If you are a runner that has experienced a recent injury or if you are prone to over-use injuries, it is time to schedule an appointment with a specialist.  You may find that a slight modification to your running plan will solve many issues.

  1. Sports Therapy Taping: Would you benefit from Kinesiology Taping? After an evaluation by a Therapy Network specialist, they may recommend taping as a training solution. Taping reduces pain while also improving performance.

  2. Shin Splints and Foot or Ankle Conditions: If you are a runner diagnosed with shin splits or a foot and ankle condition, a sports physical therapist at The Therapy Network will create a custom recovery plan.

If you have been trying to self-treat a running injury, it is time to see a specialist.  Not only can a  running therapy specialist shorten your down-time, but they can also provide injury prevention education.  Education is the key to running injury free.  Yes, you can download a running app to your smartphone, but a one-on-one review with a specialist will ensure a positive running experience and future.

You Do Not Need a Physician’s Referral in Virginia

Raise your hand if you would like to receive guidance from a running specialist but are dreading the physician’s referral process!  Well, the good news is that you do not need a physicians’ referral to visit The Therapy Network in Virginia.

If you just started a running program or if you are training for a marathon, you can see a therapist specialist this week.

Life in coastal Virginia affords us mild temperatures, even in the winter months.  Our communities offer many places to run, including park trails.  Don’t delay in scheduling an appointment for a review with a specialist.  A TTN team member can provide education and keep you running throughout the year.

Appointments Available in Coastal Virginia

If you live or work in Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Chesapeake, Virginia, there is a Therapy Network near your neighborhood or office.  With six locations in Tidewater, Virginia, there is TTN near you now.  We also have appointments available this week with a running therapy specialist.

When thinking of physical therapy for runners, think of The Therapy Network.
People walking on beach

As summer weather approaches Virginia's tidewater region, we think of the area's iconic beaches. From a sunrise walk along the water to building sandcastles with family or even surf fishing, there is a good chance that your plans will include sand.  However, that all changes when a walk on the beach is painful.