Depending on where your favourite exercise location is (your backyard, the local park’s basketball courts, a nearby sandy beach or empty carpark) your body and joints will be exposed to a differing surface. So how can you tell which surface is best for you to exercise on? And how do you know if your favourite exercise spot may actually be doing you harm? Today we take a closer look at just how the ground you work out on affects your body.
Grass is one of the best surfaces on which to exercise, as its soft spongey texture prevents serious strain on joints and bloody injuries if you do take a tumble. It’s important that when choosing a grassy spot to get active on that you look out for debris which may cause you to trip, fall or sprain an ankle—rocks, sticks and loose leaves can all pose a risk.
It’s also vital to choose a grassed area for exercise that’s relatively flat, as bumpy terrain, hills or ditches can easily unbalance you during a workout and potentially cause injury.
There’s no denying that any form of exercise on sand (even walking!) is strenuous, raising your heart rate quickly and engaging those muscle groups almost instantly. Sand workouts are often the most comprehensive, kicking an array of muscle groups into action, as well as being gentle on joints thanks to its soft texture.
However, despite its lowered risk of injury, sand can place massive strain on your ankles as this joints must work overtime to keep your balanced and upright on this unique moving surface. It’s best to ease your body into sand training by beginning exercise on wet sand—the slightly firmer surface will assist with strengthening those muscles which have to work extra hard on the soft stuff.
Asphalt is another good choice for exercise, but thanks to its sharp and rocky surface, does come with a greater risk of injury if you take a tumble. The evenness of its surface is helpful for exercise involving lots of foot work, however can cause shin splints if running is involved.
When selecting an asphalt surface to exercise on, keep a lookout for bumps and potholes which could throw you off balance. It’s also a good idea to pack a towel or mat for any ground work.
Concrete is the hardest of all surfaces, and should be avoided as your primary exercise base. Concrete makes you vulnerable to shin splints and stress fractures (particularly if you’re running a lot) and its hardness is not the nicest landing spot!
If you do have to exercise on concrete from time to time, ensure your shoes a very well cushioned to help protect ankles and knees.
All in all, an even grass surface fares as the best all-rounder exercise base, thanks to its soft yet compacted texture. But remember not to discount your Vuly trampoline mat—the flexible and supportive springy surface is a fantastic workout base which lowers your risk of injury and greatly reduces joint strain.
Which surface do you enjoy working out on the most? And how do you avoid injury when exercising?