Neighborhood: Manhattan Beach
33rd & Bell Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
However perfect your gym is, at least once in a while, you’d feel like exercising outdoors. At least it’s true for me. Actually I’d rather exercise outside most times except those days when it’s either brutally hot or cold.
Sand dune in Manhattan beach is one of the best alternative (cardio) exercises that I have found in this area.
When you arrive at Sand Dune Park in Manhattan beach, located on 33rd and Bell Ave in Manhattan beach, you would be impressed by its size. As the name describes itself, the 100-foot high sand dune will greet you.
Looking at the dune, people would soon feel they’re challenged by its height and its steepness. However, many people find it difficult to conquer it. Climbing or hiking steep heels can be challenging itself. Well, they’re about to climb a hill of sand.
Sand makes you sink into the sand again as you step up. That’s the frustrating part. The moving is slow, people become out of breath soon and their leg muscles get tired so easily. Often, they stop in the middle to catch their breath. But sinking sand can also be a challenging part. It puts more pressure on your leg muscles, which, I believe, eventually strengthens them.
The most important thing, I believe, is that you should keep your pace and try not to take a break in the middle. Start slowly because it won’t take that long for you to realize that it’s not going to end soon. Yes, 100-foot hill is that long! Especially it’s true when you have to step on sand. Probably in the middle of the sand dune, you may feel your muscles are burning up. Try not to stop there. Keep moving slowly. Also try not to take a long break on the top or at the bottom. To make it a good cardio, keep moving up and down.
When I went the dune first time, I climbed up pretty fast, overestimating my physical condition. On my fifth trial, I was almost on the verge of losing consciousness. That wasn’t a good feeling at all. Ever since then, I take the first steps pretty slowly and try to keep that pace all the way to the end.
These days, I usually climb it ten times at once. It takes a little over an hour for me. I try not to take a break inbetween. I consider walking down as a break to catch my breath. Just a few sips of water at the bottom, I climb it again. And I usually feel it’s a pretty good cardio with less pressure on my joints.
I usually go there after work around 5:30pm and 6:30pm with work friends. I guess it’s a kind o peak time but that’s the time that works for me. One good thing about that time, it doesn’t feel that hot because the sun is setting the other side of the dune in the residential areas.
The sand dune welcomes all levels of people including kids whose exercise skills are different. Actually, the sand dune is divided in two sections, one for kids and one for adults. It’s just a recommendation and totally okay to climb it in either section. But kids tend to do more fun things such as running, sliding, or racing one another. So you might as well stay where you’re supposed to stay.
It’s always nice to watch kids having fun, which makes this exercise more interesting. Seriously, it’s a lot more lively for me than running on a treadmill however nice monitor I have right in front of me.
The sand dune is located in beautiful residential areas, only a few blocks away from the ocean. Because the park is very frequently visited by people, every day of a week, every hour of a day, the residents had asked the authority to curtail access, which was not accepted. The park has operation hours as follows:
April - October (Daylight Savings Time) 6:00 AM - 9:00 PM
November - March (Standard Time) 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Quiet Hours 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM, 7:00 PM - Closing
There are picnic facilities for about 20 people including two picnic tables, rest rooms and water fountains. The park also includes a children’s play area equipped with swings, climber, and merry-go-round.
The facilities can be reserved 10 business days in advance. (310) 802-5410.
Overall, it’s a great alternative cardio workout for me. I enjoy feeling the fresh air, looking at kids having fun, and having a nice view including the ocean at the top. Ocean is actually a hidden peek (?), but it’s still nice to have it. =)