Jogging is a great exercise to get the blood pumping, get some cardio in and shed a little weight. But where you jog and what you wear while jogging can have a profound impact on your joints, especially your knees. Because your knees absorb a lot of shock when you jog, there are some important precautions to take when jogging on hard surfaces such as roads.
Jogging on Hard Surfaces
Many people jog on hard surfaces such as roads, sidewalks and pavement but rarely think of the damage they are doing to their knees and other joints. It is acceptable to jog on roads and hard surfaces sometimes, as you need diversity in the terrain you jog on, but jogging only on roads can be damaging to your knees. According to SaveYourself.ca, consistently jogging on roads can be harmful to your knees because "not only is the stress of impact exaggerated by the hard surface, but it is also repeated excessively because the mechanics of every step are exactly the same." To avoid repetitive strain injuries, it is best to switch up the surfaces you jog on.
If you are going to jog on roads and other hard surfaces, there are some things you can do to protect your knees and avoid injury. Make sure you wear thick socks, as they help absorb some of the shock when you jog. Shoe insoles made for runners also help absorb the impact put on the knees and other joints while jogging. A good pair of running shoes are also essential, as they are designed to cushion your step on any surface.
There are precautions you can take before and after jogging on roads and other hard surfaces to protect your knees from strain and injury. Always stretch and warm up before you begin jogging. Stretching will help get the muscles and ligaments loose while warming up will make sure the knees and other joints are prepared for your work out. Eating foods rich in the antioxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, such as almonds, papayas, and apples, can help protect your knees and other joints from deterioration and injury. Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish, green vegetables, nuts and seeds can reduce swelling and discomfort in your joints, according to Nature Made.
Alternatives to Roads
If you are only jogging on roads, you can benefit from changing the terrain you jog on from time to time. Grass and dirt are softer surfaces that will impact your knees less while jogging. Local parks and community centers usually have ample grass to jog on. Community colleges and some fitness centers may have dirt tracks available for you to jog on as well. If you are looking for a change of scenery while jogging, find roads that have dirt or grass along the sides so that you can alternate terrain without being confined to one location.
Based in the Los Angeles area, Brandi Junious specializes in health-related articles. Her writing reflects her expertise in fitness and education. Junious is the author of children's book "A World Without Trees" and her work has appeared on Modern Mom, The Nest Woman, Chron Healthy Living and at Loseweightandlivehealthy.blogspot.com. Junious holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in Education.