A lot of people tend to do their running on suburban streets, however roads and hard surfaces should not be the only place you do your running. Changing up the scenery, workout, and effort that is put in is often a good and much needed break from the usual routine. Changing where you run can also boost fitness levels and make you healthier. Choosing to run twice a week on grass, sand, trails, or even in a swimming pool will reduce the pounding on your legs which in turn, reduces the risk of injury.
Pushing off on a softer surface such as grass or sand strengthens more muscles and also engages more muscles. This can then mean a faster time when on the road. Here’s how to adapt your workout and running style whatever surface you are choosing to run on.
Leanne & Fitness Tips Say:
Studies from the Journal of Sports Sciences have shown that compared to running on concrete or hard surfaced roads, running on grass produces up to 17 percent less pressure on your feet. This means that for runners who are on the mend from a running related injury, grass is the ideal surface to rehabilitate and make the transition back to the roads a lot easier.
Sand is unstable and this can help strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, hips and core. You also burn more kilojoules when running on the sand as you are stepping up the aerobic challenge. WARNING: If you are coming back to running after an injury and flexibility is limited, especially in your ankles, please, avoid running on sand as it puts extra strain on your lower legs and calves.
Striding through water is great for rehabilitation for many injuries, not just injured runners. It is also very useful for healthy runners who are wanting to build strength in their muscles. Water is 800 times thicker than air and provides three-dimensional resistance. This means that your muscles have to go hard at every stride as opposed to on land where the muscles get to breathe when airborne.
Did you know runners tend to slow by 3 – 6% in their 40s, and this percentage increases as you age? Good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help the decline from happening. Check out Rules of Running for the over Forties here for more tips.
So next time you are getting ready for your run, think outside the box of standard road running and get into nature. It will help in more ways than one!