Running is something you can do anywhere – on a treadmill, on the road, up some steps, down a hill, etc. – but in case you were wondering, here is a list of the best surfaces to run on. The better surfaces protect your joints (ankles and knees) and absorb some of the shock of each stride you take.
- Grass – Grass is soft, natural, and helps cushion your feet when you’re running. However, because of its soft nature, it also forces you to expend more energy running than a treadmill or a harder surface. This is a good thing since it means your workout will be more intense. One thing to watch out for with grass is that if it’s wet, it can be extremely slippery and dangerous. Grass that isn’t freshly mowed also hides obstacles (such as stones or sticks) and holes or divots that could cause you to trip or injure your ankle. If you have allergies, grass can also make it difficult for you to get a full workout in because the exposure to the allergens will tire your body faster.
- Natural Trails – If you live by nature, go to the nearby woods and take advantage of the area that you have. Trails that aren’t too steep are perfect for running because the ground can absorb the shock of each step as you run, almost as well as grass can. Running on trails also means your run is probably less boring and has a mix of both easy and more difficult terrain.
- Tracks – Tracks that are made of synthetic material are perfect for timed running or long distance running. It ensures that you can perfectly plan your workout so that you know exactly how far and how fast you are running. Synthetic tracks also are generally made from a soft, bouncy material that is easier on your feet, ankles & knees. The only negative is the predictability of the run and doing a lot of laps may get boring very quickly.
- Treadmill – Although the treadmill has a bad rep for hurting your knees, it is actually slightly easier on your joints than asphalt, concrete, sand or snow. You can also use it to measure all sorts of things from your heart rate to how many calories you burn. However, treadmills should be used in moderation especially if your ankles or knees are already prone to injury.
If you have any questions which surface is the best for you, call Clifton Foot & Ankle Center at 703-996-3000 and speak to Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, our top rated Foot & Ankle surgeon. You can also make appointments at our Centreville, VA office online using this link.