What Surfaces Should You Run On?
The exercise world is hardly lacking in myths, controversies, and debates over the benefits or dangers of certain lifestyle and workout choices. One minute you should be loading up on soy protein, the next soy is a major danger. First drinking coffee is a bad thing, then a health attribute. It’s hard to keep up! One of the biggest debates in the running world specifically relates to the best surfaces on which to run. Some surfaces are better for the body, while others are safer or easier to access. If you are a runner, this information can help you determine how to best plan tomorrow’s route on asphalt or concrete.
Running For Joint Health
Running places incredible pressure and strain on the joints, so many people aim to run on the surface that will cause the least amount of overall joint disruption and knee pain. If this is your main priority, then you should choose asphalt when grass and dirt are not an option. Asphalt is a hard surface, but it is still softer than concrete. It’s difficult to find a scientific estimate of its softness compared to concrete, as professional opinions vary greatly, but overall most runners will choose asphalt over concrete when trying to protect the joints.
Running For Safety
Most sidewalks tend to be made of concrete, which makes concrete a safer surface for running than asphalt, which is typically used to pave roadways. As a runner, you are small and easy to miss as cars rush by. Even if you wear a bright orange windbreaker, you need to take your safety seriously by sticking to sidewalks when possible. Don’t blast your music too loud so you can still hear the sounds around you, carry a cell phone, and always share your route and predicted return time with a friend or partner.
Variety is the Spice of Life
It will probably be many years until experts can come to a final agreement on the best running surface, but asphalt and concrete each have their pros and cons. At the end of the day, variety is your best option to keep your body guessing and prevent burning out on one type of foundation.