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Best Workout Surfaces

Alexandra Williams, MA

As a boomer and group fitness instructor with one reconstructed knee and a fused big toe (both due to soccer), I am always mindful about the surfaces I exercise on. Some surfaces hurt; others feel cushiony and safe. Whether you have an injury or are trying to prevent one, it’s smart to work out on a forgiving, protective surface.

pic of Regupol process

From Rejected to Recycled to Regupol

In order to share the best information with you, I went last week to Pennsylvania to check out a variety of floor surfaces as a guest of Regupol, German-American makers of rubber sports and fitness flooring made of recycled tires.

Last year we wrote a post about running surfaces in answer to a reader question, which you’ll want to read. One main point from that post is to pay attention to the three S’s: Springback, Shock absorption, and Stability. In the pictures below, you can see that I tested every Regupol floor in a variety of workout modes. I even ran (which many of you know I gave up after my knee surgeries). The three S’s were there in all cases, and I had zero joint pain. I even felt daring in a sense, because I could try stuff I had been afraid would hurt previously.

Over two days we visited Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club,

pic from visit to Boys and Girls club, Nicetown

John of Regupol (and “Rocky” movie expert). P.S. I suck at basketball.

 

Horsham Athletic Club,

pic at Horsham Athletic Club

I can fly!

 

Villanova University Basketball Training Room and Football & Olympic Sports Training Room,

pic of Regupol flooring at Villanova

V for Very light weight (or Villanova University)

 

Lancaster Mennonite High School,

Running on the Lancaster Mennonite High Regupol track

Yup, I RAN the track. All the way around. (photo credit: Michael Gaio of Athletic Business)

 

Franklin & Marshall College,

pic on the track at Franklin & Marshall U

Running, Pole Vault & Steeplechase. No idea about two of those.

 

and the Regupol America facility. During the tour, in addition to checking for comfort and support, I paid attention to additional details that I feel are important:

Sustainability

In 2011, Regupol America became the first company in Pennsylvania to earn a coveted GreenCircle certification. Sustainable manufacturing utilizes processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural resources, and are economically sound for the community. During the factory tour, we learned that the waste is practically zero. Actually, the only thing I remember them mentioning as trash is the plastic wrap that encases the ready-to-ship flooring rolls. Oh, I also learned that “Regupol” stands for REcycled GUmmi (rubber) POLymer. So German!

Acoustics and Absorption

If you’re a grunter, singer or screamer, you might be happy to be in a workout area that absorbs those sounds! And if you are someone who drops your weights (very few exercises exist that actually require you to do so, by the way), you will want an absorbing floor that doesn’t disturb the exercisers below (can you tell I’ve endured years of teaching where the sounds of dropped weights on the floor above are louder than my group exercise music?).

Olympic-Level Quality

Some of the tracks we visited are exactly the same as the the one on which Usain Bolt won the 2009 Berlin World Championships. If you have a kid headed to university who wants to compete in Track and Field, this might be a deal-maker.

The moral of the story (I’ve always wanted to say that) is this: if your joints hurt after exercising, switch to a better surface. Such things DO exist. Now I’m working on a plan to convince Regupol to recycle some of their flooring as sandal soles. If my childhood huaraches from Mexico can have tire pieces glued on as soles, my adulthood sandals surely can have an updated version, right?!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to write this post. Regupol paid for my trip to Pennsylvania. They even shared local trivia about the “Amish Mafia” (some sort of TV show) and the “Rocky” movies!

 

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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7 Responses to Best Workout Surfaces

  1. Sandra Laflamme May 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    It looks like a fun and informational trip and of course I love that you ran the track! As I runner I know how important it is to make sure that you are running on an appropriate surface especially if an injury is lingering or you feel that you have one coming on. thanks for sharing your trip with Regupol

    • AlexandraFunFit May 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      I should have known you’d catch on that I actually ran. Yup, it was (dare I say) kind of fun. Of course, I did a total of 2 laps. I think that’s a massive 1/2 mile. You know when my bad knee hurt? Today, after I taught 3 classes on the wood floor over concrete at the U.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..5 Worrisome Challenges Facing Older AdultsMy Profile

  2. Jody - Fit at 56 May 13, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    LOVED following this on IG. I was wondering what it was all about.. and BTW, you are amazing – that flying move!!!!!

    Super interesting & I am all for the shoes made of this too!

    I notice in the gym – since 24 hour Fitness is horrible at upkeep – as the treadmills wear down & they do not replace nor do they change the belts – my bod & knees feel it :(
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & Moms; Cookies too!My Profile

  3. Maribel reyes May 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    What an amazing trip! Very informational too, since moving to Costa Rica all we have is tile flooring and it have to admit that doing planks on it is rough, with the humidity in the environment my hands keep slipping and I know it’s due to the surface. Wishing they had tracks like the one you ran on! I can’t believe the strength you have to fly like that. I’ve seen there’s a studio here that does that type of workout maybe I should check it out. ;)

    • AlexandraFunFit May 13, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

      I was in C.R. about 15 years ago, and visited a number of fitness studios. They were very muggy and I had the same issues. Thanks for the compliment. I actually like push-ups and make my university students do them. I am trying to set a good example for what 50+ year olds can do!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..5 Foods to Eat to Defy Your Age (And 5 to Avoid)My Profile

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