The Impact of Running on Different Surfaces

Running is a good and popular method of exercise that helps the runner lose weight and have better cardiovascular health. Running can also be very relaxing to some people since it can be therapeutic, and the additional health benefits make people choose running over many other types of exercise. Running also transports you from place to place, and it can be done with minimal equipment and whatever amount of time you have available. Running on different surfaces, such as pavement, sand and grass, all have a different impact to your feet.

Running on Different Surfaces

Running on Pavement

Running on pavement puts added stress on the foot and leg. (MorgueFiles.com)

Running on pavement puts added stress on the foot and leg. (MorgueFiles.com)

Running on pavement means you can run faster, because the surface is smooth and even. However, the consequence is that the surface is harder and has a bigger impact on the body due to the fact each stride can hit the same spot and cause the same impact stresses on the foot and leg. For those who already have issues with your feet, this may not be something you want to hear and maybe it’s time to change your scenery.

Beach Running

Running on the beach and sand is less stressful to the legs and hips because the impact of each stride is absorbed by the sand. It also requires more muscles to engage because of the lesser rebound effect, compared to pavement. The hip flexors, quads and glutes are all involved more when participating in beach running. For some, the intention of more muscle involvement makes beach running more attractive than other surfaces. For those with foot issues, this is a better alternative than pavement for your runs (and you can’t beat the views!).

Running on Grass

Running on grass is better for your body, as it causes less stress on each foot’s impact. It is also a great surface to run on because it is always slightly uneven. This causes the impact to hit slightly differently with each stride and therefore minimizes the stress to particular areas of the foot and leg, which is more likely to occur running on pavement that is even. Finding a park in South Florida is easy!

Choosing to be a runner is a great way to exercise, provided you are aware of the potential health issues, like shin splints, and take care to wear the right sneakers and go easy on your body and feet. Different surfaces provide different challenges and impacts. Therefore, be sure to determine what you hope to accomplish with each run and pick your terrain accordingly.

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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:

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