Asphalt running is simply a must for a large proportion of runners. It is the most accessible type of surface, and in the autumn and winter season, it is often the only illuminated place for training. Does asphalt damage runners’ joints? We check what specialists say about it!
There are still lively discussions among runners about running on asphalt on internet forums. According to many, this type of surface is highly harmful to the joints – in their opinion, a harder surface does not absorb as well as forest paths, which in practice destroys the knees. How much truth is there in this statement? It turns out not much!
Asphalt is usually a smooth, grippy surface and allows you to build a faster pace than running in other conditions. Here we are not exposed to holes or protruding roots that can tear tendons. According to specialists, it is the fact that we run faster on asphalt that causes more frequent injuries.
It is equally important to prepare the body for training properly. Very often, especially beginners, get up from the couch and want to break records right away. They run in the wrong shoes, without warming up first or with extra pounds that strain their joints. An over-ambitious mileage may also be the culprit – it is assumed that it is healthy to do no more than 50-60 km a week, especially when we do not train professionally and want to enjoy running.
Specialists also emphasize that the type of surface’s differentiation (if possible) works best for our body. Forest, unpaved paths make our muscles work differently. Here we put all the emphasis on the work of the so-called deep, stabilizing muscles. We also run a bit slower, and we are dealing with sand, unevenness and protruding roots. This is an entirely different type of training, but precisely what is needed.
What about cartilage, which some say wears faster on a hard one? First, a bit of theory: cartilage is an elastic tissue, composed of water and a gel-like substance, made of, among others, collagen. There are no blood vessels or nerves in the structure, and it takes its nutrients from the synovial fluid. Its task is to reduce friction during movement, as well as shock absorption.
Apart from the injury, the most negative impact on cartilage is… lack of exercise! According to physiotherapists, it is during physical activity that it nourishes itself, and if we do not move at all – cartilage cannot function properly. What are the lessons from all of this?
– exercise is essential to stay healthy. You have to be smart about everything: if you have not exercised for a long time or are overweight, you should start very slowly and gradually build up your fitness;
– never start a run without warming up, remember to stretch, and you don’t live by running alone – general development exercises will also be helpful;
– runners do not mind the asphalt or forest track – it is recommended to differentiate the running paths to work on the development of other muscles
– running brings several benefits: from the secretion of endorphins, improved blood supply, burning calories, better sleep … It’s not worth giving up! A lack of sense often causes injury, and it has nothing to do with asphalt running!