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Bit-giant.ltd Review: 3 Reasons Why Bit Giant Is Risky
Bit Giant Review: A legit investment or another short span HYIP? Read our reviews to see what experts have to say about Bit Giant Investment.
This website promises to grow your money. Is Bit-giant.ltd a legit hyip? You may have come across many systems on the internet promising you quick fortunes, the truth is that majority of them turn out to be scams.
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In this review, we provide you information based on our investigations and user experiences to help guide you make the proper decision.
What Is Bit Giant- Is Bit-giant.ltd Paying?
PBit-giant.ltd is a recently launched investment platform with an awesome interface. They claim they can double your bitcoin in 24hours. There doesn’t seem to be much about this platform online. However, their website is pretty convincing, and if given room to be popular, they would easily make away with people’s money.
Bit-giant.ltd Scam Review: Disturbing Things Found
Though this site might appear legit to a newbie, the truth is that it is just a wishy washy HYIP just like Flamebit, it is designed in such a way to convince unsuspecting investors. The truth is that BitGaint is a exact copy of a doubler platform called pay2x that duped a lot of investors few months ago.
This simply means, Bit Gaint is like every other HYIP. It is a just a type of ponzi scheme. Initial investors only get paid when new people sign up and invest, what this means is that you are under pressure to bring in new investors so that you will get paid. As soon as the amount of new investor drops, the owners do away with the money invested.
Thus, the site is closed down since there is no longer enough money to pay initial investors. Those that benefit most times are the first investors. However, the system is not sustainable because it will surely shut down abruptly leaving your money trapped in the hands of the scammers that set it up initially. Why spend your time on HYIPs when there are other legitimate and sustainable ways of making money?
Three Reasons Why Bit Giant Is Not an Ideal Investment Platform For You
Many HYIP monitors wouldn’t tell you how this system works, even trusted hyip monitoring sites wouldn’t be quick in telling you that some of these HYIPS like Bit-giant.ltd have a very very short span life. Below are reasons why we think it is not the best investment for you-
- Bit-giant.ltd is unpredictable. We can’t tell what their next move would be. That being said, your money is always at risk, as they might decide to stop paying anytime.
- Their ROI is very much unrealistic. No legitimate business can make you that 100% profit within 24hours. . Like Hello, how possible is that? I don’t think even drug lords make such amount just in a day.
- Bit-giant.ltd works with some HYIP monitors. Their affiliate program is lucrative, so even top 10 trusted hyip monitors would promote. Hey! don’t let your guard down.
Is Bit-giant.ltd a Scam or Legitimate HYIP?
Though they provide a registration certificate and so-called evidence of payments, don’t be deceived, anybody could get a sham address and certificate most especially from the Company House in UK which most of them use, for just £5. These companies claiming to be located in the UK or similar countries like the USA are not in actual sense located there.
Sometimes these platforms might pose as an investment platform, doubler platform or even a mining platform. Often times they might run an ads through the google ads academy or even get a youtube ads making them look legit. But the truth is that they do not have the equipment that make them what they claim to be. Rather what they do is circle the funds of investors, and when they have made a lot of unsuspecting investors trust them, they stop paying.
The truth is that even the longest paying hyip would one day flop. The system is not sustainable. Why waste your time and money when there are legit and paying bitcoin investment sites? You could even start forex trading with the help of trusted brokers.
Bit-giant.ltd is not a trusted Investment Platform
How To Know Investments Scam Formats
It is true that most of this high yield investment platforms look like the real deal, thus confusing us.However, there are various ways to find out if an investment platform is a lackluster HYIP or if it a trusted investment platform. Below are ways you could find out-
- ROI- The returns offered. Are they sustainable? Can the funds be shuffled round and get to every investor? are the offers realizable?
- History- Does the platform have a history? Can the company behind it be found online?
- Transaparent– How transparent is the information on the website?
- Contact– Can you reach them? Is the address made available on the platform?
Everyday we get complaints of people been scammed. Most people fall for these schemes because of the sweet promises of making huge profits within a short time. .On a serious note, legit systems exists but scams are very very numerous. So you need a guide to help you make a good decision. We have made it our duty, by exposing scams.
They are lots of online investment opportunities which could fetch you money and give you a good Return On Investment. We constantly search them out to guide our readers so they don’t fall for scams. Always feel free to interact with us in the comment section.
Should I Buy Bitcoin in 2020? Why BTC is a good investment for some (and a bad one for others)
Last Updated on March 27, 2020
Should I buy Bitcoin?
This is the question that many people ask themselves when they hear about the outlandish returns that this cryptocurrency has had over the past 10 years.
After its creation in 2009, the Bitcoin price has been on a constant parabolic uptrend that has so far pushed its price from less than $0.01 to $20,000 per coin.
Meaning that a $50 investment in 2009, would have netted you $100 Million at the Bitcoin All-Time High!
Do you know any other asset that has offered similar returns? Probably not.
In this short guide, we will be covering the massive potential but also the considerable risks of investing Bitcoin, and we will hopefully help you to answer the question of whether you should buy Bitcoin, or not.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created back in 2009 by its pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto. It was the first cryptocurrency to be ever created, and it has spawned an entire industry around it hundreds of businesses and thousands of new crypto assets.
Even though at the time of writing there are well over 2,000 cryptocurrencies out there, none of them has ever surpassed Bitcoin in total value (market capitalization) or in hash power (the computing power that keeps the network secure).
This lead many people to claim that the Bitcoin phenomena cannot be ever replicated again, just like nothing could replicate Gold’s success as a store of value in the past 2,700 years.
The main argument being that the type of fair launch and organic growth that Bitcoin had is impossible to replicate in a world that already knows so much about cryptocurrencies.
One example for this was the mainnet launch of “Grin”, which was supposed to be a fairly launched new privacy coin. However, shortly after the launch, it came to light that wealthy VC firms had set-up over $100 Million worth of miners to profit from the cryptocurrency at launch.
Why should I buy Bitcoin? 3 reasons why you should
Currently, the creation of money is in the hands of a few people whose interests are not aligned with the rest of the population. Bitcoin aims to change that and hence completely redefine the way that humans think about and interact with money.
Deflationary monetary policy
The fact that the creation of fiat money (USD, GBP, EUR, etc) is in the hand of a small elite, has lead to many unnatural forms of economic instability.
A notable example is the existence of inflation, which essentially is the percentage of value that fiat money loses every year due to the increase in the money supply.
When the increase in money gets out of hand, like in the case of Venezuela or Zimbabwe, hyper-inflation comes to place and the country’s currency loses most of its value in just months.
This can’t happen with Bitcoin because in Bitcoin the creation of money is not controlled by anyone.
Bitcoin has a hardcoded monetary policy that cannot be violated, and that makes it a form of money protected from the manipulation that fiat money is subjected to.
This hardcoded monetary supply is illustrated by the 21 Million coins supply cap of Bitcoin, and is enforced through the Bitcoin block reward, which is an algorithmically determined amount of Bitcoin that is generated every block (about 10 minutes.
Again, there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins in existence. That’s less than 1 Bitcoin for every millionaire in the world. Let that sink in.
Bitcoin is Digital Gold
Bitcoin is not called “Digital Gold” for no reason.
It offers very similar qualities to gold, while also improving upon them at the same time. Some of the most notable ones are the following:
- Cheaper transport: Transporting $100 Million worth of Gold from one country to the other will cost millions of dollars in logistics and security measures. On the other hand, it is essentially free to send Bitcoin from one corner of the world to the other because it’s just an online transaction.
- Digital verifiability: If someone claims to own a certain amount of Gold, as some Central banks do, it is very hard to prove unless you visit the actual vault. On the other hand, Bitcoin’s blockchain is fully transparent and anyone around the world can easily verify how much Bitcoin a certain address holds.
- Ease of storage: Since Bitcoin is not a physical asset, you don’t need expensive vaults and around the clock security to store it. Storing your Bitcoin safely is as easy as sending them to a great cryptocurrency wallet.
- Smaller environmental impact: Gold mining is an extremely destructive industry. It not only permanently destroys the landscape where it is conducted, but often also dangerous chemicals are used which harm the wildlife in the area. Bitcoin mining does consume electricity and hence there is an environmental as well, but it is magnitudes smaller than Gold’s.
If Bitcoin becomes a form of digital gold and reaches the same total valuation as Gold, that would put the Bitcoin price at approximately $340,000 per coin ($6 Trillion market capitalization).
It’s uncensorable and unconfiscatable
Since the Bitcoin network is not controlled by a central entity, transactions on the blockchain cannot be stopped or rolled back. This makes Bitcoin possibly the most uncensorable money and digital currency in the world.
This is very powerful for a variety of reasons, but most importantly it enables people to protect their wealth from authoritarian regimes and it enables truly open commerce.
To illustrate this point better, let’s get back to the example of Venezuela. At the time of writing, Maduro’s regime prohibits anyone to store meaningful amounts of money in Gold and confiscates it when found.
This puts people in a tough position because if they store their value in the country’s currency, the value will completely disappear in just weeks due to hyperinflation, while if they store it in Gold they risk seizure and can’t move it around easily.
Therefore, what some citizens have decided to do is to store their value in Bitcoin. They can easily store their Bitcoin on a web wallet, a hardware wallet, a piece of paper by just writing down the recovery words, or even in their brain by memorizing them!
They can now also easily use that Bitcoin to buy goods and to quickly send it to friends or family abroad if necessary.
Many supporters believe that Bitcoin will not only become digital Gold, but that it will in fact eventually kill-off and substitute fiat currencies like the US Dollar, to become the world currency.
If that happened, the total market capitalization of Bitcoin jumps into the tens of Trillions of dollars, pushing the price to over $1 Million per Bitcoin.
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Should you buy Bitcoin now?
Never in the history of Bitcoin’s existence have so many positive price catalysts come together in such a short period of time.
This is a lot to absorb so let’s dive into each one in a bit more detail.
Blockchain scalability issues are being solved
With a limit of around 5 transactions per second, it was clear from early on that Bitcoin’s blockchain would not be able to process payments simultaneously for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of people… Or could it?
Enter Lightning Network (LN). LN is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Bitcoin, meaning that transactions are not going through the main blockchain but through sidechains. This makes individual transactions a lot cheaper and throughput seemingly ceilingless.
The main limitation of LN is that it can only process as many transactions as many Bitcoins are locked in the network in the form of a channel.
That being said, the growth of the network capacity has been remarkable and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
With scalability solved, Bitcoin now has what it takes to truly become a global form of money, which leads us to the next point.
Bitcoin adoption is exploding
Aside from thousands of merchants accepting Bitcoin worldwide, an interesting trend to watch is one of citizens in third world countries adopting Bitcoin to protect their wealth.
As can be observed in the chart above, the trading volume of Bitcoin in Venezuela has gone through the roof. This is a clear sign of people adopting Bitcoin as a new currency when their national currency has failed.
Big institutional money is moving in
Finally, big investors all around the world are starting to get increasingly interested in Bitcoin.
Many speculate that this is not only due to quickly growing adoption but mainly due to global economic uncertainty and fear due to the outlandish amount of debt that is the foundation of the fiat money system.
Large institutions, like Fidelity, Nasdaq, and JP Morgan have all publicly announced that they are buying Bitcoin or that they are building bitcoin-related products for their millions of clients. However, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
It is very probable that dozens of additional institutions (and possibly even Governments) are also working behind the scenes on Bitcoin infrastructure but have not announced so to the public yet.
Risks of investing in Bitcoin
Is it safe to buy Bitcoin? Absolutely not, and everyone telling you otherwise should probably not be trusted.
Bitcoin is still a very young digital currency, and also a new highly volatile asset. Price drops of over 5% in a day are not unusual. That’s just how it is, with great opportunity always comes great risk.
Furthermore, Bitcoin is still largely an experiment and you should treat it as such. You should never invest in Bitcoin more money than what you can afford to lose.
Due to the speculative nature of Bitcoin, even mere rumors like a country potentially regulating Bitcoin can already cause a significant price drop and deep losses for investors.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin has had 6 major drops in its history where its price declined over -80% over the course of a year.
Bitcoin is a network, and hence unlike Gold, its existence could potentially be threatened by a single bad actor.
One devastating attack that could potentially be performed on Bitcoin is a so-called “51% attack”, in which a miner that controls more than 50% of the network’s computing power (Hash power), uses it to change transaction history or even spend Bitcoins more than just once.
Although it’s true that a 51% attack has never been performed successfully on Bitcoin, many smaller coins like Verge and Ethereum Classic have been affected by this attack, and the result was devastating.
If Bitcoin mining continues becoming more centralized, the risk of a network attack may become greater as Bitcoin starts threatening the currencies of major Governments.
On the flip side, if Bitcoin mining were to become more decentralized, the bigger Bitcoin becomes the stronger the blockchain gets. This would make a successful attack a lot more challenging.
We have seen over and over again that the first version of a technology is often not the one that ends up sticking around forever. This has been the case with mobile phones, cameras, and even social networks.
Many people claim that this won’t affect the Bitcoin blockchain since Bitcoin is not just a technology but a form of money and that the network effects that money establishes are very hard to break. Fact is, there is a very little precedent on this and therefore this point might indeed hold true.
However, it’s important to remember that social networks also heavily rely on powerful network effects, yet all of the social networks we use nowadays where only reiterations of the first versions.
So the possibility of other coins might take Bitcoin’s throne is something to keep in mind.
Incorrect economic assumption
Bitcoin is built on a deflationary model, meaning that the value of money increases over time. This is a strong contrast to the fiat money system, which through inflation is designed in a way that money loses its value.
There are two main schools of economics that explore these two economic models: Austrian economics and Keynesian economics.
Austrian economists believe that the world needs a deflationary monetary system to flourish, while on the other hand, Keynesian economists believe that inflation and debt are necessary to encourage economic growth.
It is hard to say which economic school is right without taking a subjective approach, but if Keynesians turn out “to be right” then Bitcoin would be flawed at its very core monetary policy, which would essentially guarantee its failure in the long run.
Coordinated Government crackdown
As stated earlier, once Bitcoin grows to a certain size where it starts to threaten major fiat currencies, Governments may take coordinated action to shut Bitcoin down.
One approach would be to illegalize Bitcoin exchanges and hence prevent investors from buying it. They might even go as far as legalizing Bitcoin and making anyone holding coins legally liable.
Something similar has already happened back in 1933 when the US Government made it illegal to hold gold, and confiscated this precious metal from its citizens.
That being said, unlike Gold, Bitcoin is not a physical asset that can easily be identified by the Government. An individual could simply memorize the private keys to his coins, or even send them to friends or family abroad with just the click of a button.
Therefore, such an endeavor could only be successful if coordinated on a global scale. And as history has shown in multiple instances, Governments are notoriously poor at coordinating on an international level, which would make a crackdown of this magnitude rather unlikely.
Who should buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is still a new high-risk and extremely volatile asset that should be treated with caution. It is definitely not the right asset for anyone and you need to be aware of that if you want to avoid unnecessary stress.
Here are a few situations in which a person is in a good position for investing in Bitcoin:
You have probably noticed that all of the above 3 profiles have one thing in common: they are not investing more money into Bitcoin than what they can afford to lose.
If you are a person that can handle wild market swings and that has some money set aside for high-risk investments, then Bitcoin might be a good option for you.
Who is investing in Bitcoin?
Now that we covered who should be investing in Bitcoin, let’s quickly also dive into who actually is buying Bitcoin.
In a research report by Finder.com, the following statistics came to light:
Since the research only involved a few thousand people, these numbers may not be entirely correct, but it does give you an approximate idea of the group of people that you are joining when you buy your first Bitcoin.
Which Bitcoin investment strategy should you follow?
It’s important to only buy Bitcoin if you have an exact investment strategy in mind. Having a framework that you can follow will make it a lot easier for you to handle the wild price swings of this digital currency.
Although there are a few more, in this article I will show you the 3 most popular Bitcoin investment strategies that you can start following today.
Buy and hold (“HODL”)
Yes, that is not a typo. “Hodl” is the name for a Bitcoin investment strategy that simply consists in buying Bitcoin, and holding it forever. The now iconic word was coined by a drunk Bitcoiner that said that he will never sell his Bitcoins and that he will “Hodl”.
This is by far the simplest way of getting exposure to Bitcoin because it does not require any active management from your side, and since Bitcoin has been in a long-term bull trend ever since its inception, it might also prove to be very effective.
Dollar cost average
Dollar cost averaging is a strategy also often used in stock market investing. It essentially consists of buying small chunks of an asset periodically (every week, or every month) in order to minimize the risk of buying at the top.
Here is an example of why it can be so powerful:
Investor A: Has a problem because he has made a big loss.
Investor B: Has also made a loss, but he still has $8,000 to buy cheap new Bitcoin now.
Therefore, if you are not comfortable with timing the market then dollar-cost averaging may be the right Bitcoin investment strategy for you.
Active portfolio management
Finally, the last strategy is to actively manage your portfolio. This can be done by selling some of your Bitcoin after it has gone up a lot, and by re-buying them cheaper if there is a drop.
Interestingly, you don’t necessarily have to actually sell your Bitcoin holdings to protect yourself from a big price drop. You may also go on a margin trading exchange like Bitmex, Deribit or Bybit, where you can open a leveraged short.
Let’s say you hold 10 Bitcoin.
Instead of selling 4 Bitcoin when you think that the price is going to drop, what you could do is send 2 Bitcoin to Bitmex and open a short with 2x leverage.
This way, you can trade with 2 Bitcoins but they are actually worth 4 Bitcoin in the trade.
When the price then drops and you think the bottom is in, you can now close the short at a profit and use the profits to buy more Bitcoin.
Needless to say, this strategy should only be used by people that are experienced with the matter and that are familiar with the risks of bitcoin trading.
When is the right time to buy Bitcoin?
Should you buy Bitcoin now? Is now the right time to buy Bitcoin? Is Bitcoin worth buying still?
If those are questions that you’re asking yourself, then you need to know that the Bitcoin price moves in 2 very well studied cycles:
The macro price cycle occurs in the form of multi-year bull markets that push for new all-time highs, and that is then followed by a 1-2 year bear market.
The bottom of this bear market has historically always been marked by the “Bitcoin Halving”, which is the event in which Bitcoin’s algorithmic monetary policy automatically reduces the yearly inflation by 50%.
On the micro level, Bitcoin is known to follow patterns in certain seasonalities. Although some speculate that this may have to do with year-end bonuses which some people use to buy Bitcoin, there isn’t really a proven explanation for this phenomena.
Historically, November has always been the best time to buy Bitcoin and was followed on average by a 30% rally in the same month and by a 40% average price increase in December.
On the other hand, January has historically been the worst time to buy Bitcoin since the average return in that month is -8%.
How much Bitcoin should you buy?
As pointed out earlier, Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset and you should never invest more money that you can afford to lose. Instead of getting into Bitcoin with the mentality to “make money quickly”, think of Bitcoin like another asset in a wider portfolio.
This portfolio could also include companies listed on the stock market, metals and bonds.
Hence, if you are asking yourself “How much Bitcoin should I buy?”, the answer is simple: It depends on your risk tolerance.
A good mentality hack to use before investing in Bitcoin is assuming that the money you are planning to invest is gone forever. If that thought makes you nervous, then you were planning to invest too much.
That being said, if you are going to start investing a bigger amount into cryptocurrency, then try to own 1 whole Bitcoin first. There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins, which isn’t even enough for every millionaire in the world to own one.
After you own your first Bitcoin, then you are now in a good position to also invest in other cryptocurrencies.
Why buy Bitcoin?
So, you have read the whole guide until here and are now wondering: Why Buy Bitcoins?
Investors buy Bitcoin for 3 main reasons:
Hence, if any of the above situations apply to you, Bitcoin might be worth buying for you.
Should you buy Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash?
Some investors wonder if they should be investing in Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH) because they don’t really know the difference between both coins.
Both coins are focused on becoming a digital currency. However, although “Bitcoin Cash” has the name “Bitcoin” in it, it’s not actually the original Bitcoin.
BCH is a “fork” (a new copy) that was created of BTC (Bitcoin) back in late 2020 with the aim of improving on some features that Bitcoin has, namely increasing the block size from 1 MegaByte to 8 MegaByte to supposedly have lower fees and be more scalable.
BCH has a significantly lower hash power (computing power) than Bitcoin does and its blockchain is hence significantly less secure. The network also has a lot fewer transactions since adoption is not as developed as Bitcoin’s.
With that being said, if you are just getting started and are looking for the best cryptocurrencies to invest in, then you should stick to Bitcoin since many people consider it the safest bet in the cryptocurrency space.
Once you are more familiar with the technology and this asset class, then you might want to also buy some altcoins like BCH.
In late 2020, another new fork happened. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) forked into two cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin SV (Satoshi‘s Vision) and Bitcoin ABC (Adjustable Blocksize Cap).
Bitcoin SV is affiliated to Craig Wright, who claims to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto. And on the other hand, the Bitcoin ABC community is lead by Roger Ver. He calls Bitcoin ABC “the conservative wing” because they plan to maintain a strong similarity with Bitcoin Cash.
These forks can lead to a high level of confusion, especially for new members of the community.
Should you buy Bitcoins or Ethereum?
Should I buy Bitcoins or Ethereum? – Many investors that are just getting started with cryptocurrencies ask themselves this question.
They wonder if Bitcoin still is worth buying now that it has already gone up so much in value, or if they should buy altcoins like Ethereum instead.
So, while the decision if you should buy Bitcoin or Ethereum is one you have to make, what we can do for you is to outline some relevant facts for you.
On the contrary to Bitcoin, Ethereum’s goal is not to be a currency and store of value.
Ethereum is a world computer that enables anyone to create and operate so-called “smart contracts”, which are essentially pieces of software running on the blockchain that cannot be stopped or censored by anyone.
This is especially powerful for fin-tech applications as Ethereum can completely cut rent-seeking intermediaries like banks out of the equation.
This not only applies for value transfer, but also to loans, digital representations of assets like companies listed on the stock market, and trading without the need for a central platform like a stock exchange.
The concept of a blockchain-based smart contract can be quite confusing at first, therefore it’s best to start out exclusively with Bitcoin and then potentially also dive into other coins like Ethereum once you have mastered Bitcoin.
If you want to learn more about Ethereum then a great starting point is our article about real-world use cases of Ethereum.
Should you buy Bitcoin or Ripple?
Since Ripple has developed into a very powerful coin in the market, we should also keep it in mind as an option. This digital currency currently ranks as #3 on Coinmarketcap, although it has beaten Ethereum in market capitalization a couple of times.
When choosing which cryptocurrency to buy most of, everyone has his own factors or reasons to always keep in mind. Some look more into security considerations, others more into ease of use, etc.
This all depends on the user and his own technical ideas. Setting aside other features, Ripple stands out for having a very strong community. They call themselves the Ripple Army or XRParmy.
The transaction system of Ripple is more similar to what a bank would like. Meaning fast transactions and higher capacity of transactions per second (tx/s). Bitcoin can normally manage around 5 transactions per second. On the other hand, Ripple can process around 1,500 transactions per second.
That makes it pretty clear that Bitcoin and Ripple are very different cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin dominates the market as a store of value, and Ripple looks forward to dominating the fast transaction system.
However, it’s important to note that Ripple’s fast transaction capability comes at a cost: it’s blockchain is extremely centralized. This means that transactions could technically be censored on the Ripple blockchain, and funds could be confiscated.
How can you buy Bitcoin? (3 simple steps)
Buying Bitcoin is a lot simpler than most people think. Let’s outline how you can buy Bitcoin in 3 simple steps.
1. Create an account on Coinbase
Coinbase is a great cryptocurrency exchange for beginners because it is not only safe and trustworthy, but it is also extremely easy to use.
So the first step to buy some Bitcoin is to create an account on Coinbase, this just takes a few minutes and the exchange will initially only ask you for your name and email.
After you verify the confirmation email to confirm your email address, you have the option to complete a basic identity verification where you submit your ID or Passport. You may only have to do this if you are planning to buy a large amount of Bitcoin.
Note: This is a common practice in cryptocurrency exchanges and Coinbase has to do this identity check with large buyers to stay compliant.
With that being said, let’s now jump to step 2!
2. Deposit some USD/EUR/GBP on Coinbase
In step 2, it’s now time to deposit your fiat currency of choice that you will use to buy Bitcoin. At the time of writing, Coinbase supports USD, EUR, and GBP.
This, again, is also very straightforward and only requires you to input your bank name, your own name, and the amount in USD/EUR/GBP that you will deposit.
Then just click “continue” and you will be brought to a page that gives you the bank account details of Coinbase where you have to send your funds.
Easy peasy right?
Buy some Bitcoin in just 1 click
The final step is the easiest and quickest of all.
After your funds arrived, which depending on your bank may take up to 2-3 days, you are now ready to buy Bitcoin.
To do so you simply need to click on the “Buy/Sell” tab, and then you are brought to the following page:
On this page, all you have to do is select Bitcoin (in the image above I already selected it), and then type in below the amount of USD/EUR/GBP worth of Bitcoin that you want to buy.
Then you have to click “Buy Bitcoin” and that’s it!
You are now a proud Bitcoin owner and among the first people in the world to own some.
Alexander has worked in community growth for multiple cryptocurrency companies. He is now the Sales and Operations Manager for CoinDiligent. In his free time, he writes articles sharing his industry insights. You can get in touch with Alexander on LinkedIn.
Is Running on Pavement Risky?
Hard-surface running may be risk factor for running injuries like patellofemoral pain, IT band syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis
The body is an all-terrain vehicle, born to run two million years before roads,1 and so maybe we suffer when we run for a long time on asphalt or concrete. Although running is an extremely healthy sport overall, and nowhere near as hard on the body as most people fear, running injuries are still common and frustrating and the risk factors for them remain mysterious. Could it be the roads? Is it insane to do exactly the same thing over and over again with your anatomy and expect to get away with it?2 It seems almost obvious, but no one actually knows. Just as with running barefoot or minimally shod — a sort of mirror image of this topic — there’s a surprising lack of hard science about running on hard surfaces … and some of the scientific evidence we do have is surprising.
About competing though … Runners who compete on roads have to mostly train on roads — if hard surfaces are harder on joints than trails, grass, and tracks, then you have to adapt to that. And yet training intensity does not necessarily have to always match competition intensity! Avoiding roads during training could be a way of making training safer while still preparing to compete.
Although most runners fear the rigidity of concrete or ashpalt, the problem might actually be the continuity of the surface, the unrelenting same-ness of pavement. But there’s even less evidence about that possibility.
Important safety issue: for people with joints that may be unstable from previous injuries (e.g. ankle sprains), running on uneven or unstable surfaces (trails especially) may be the greater of evils. The evil-ness of roads is an unknown, but there’s no question that it’s all-too-easy to sprain an ankle on a trail run.
Citation badly needed! Are roads really risky?
It seems common-sensical that running on hard surfaces is risky. Surely harder surfaces involve more impact, more biomechanical stress? Unfortunately, that “obvious” idea has a glaring citation needed problem. Is there any direct scientific evidence that running on hard surfaces is actually injurious? Has anyone ever gotten big groups of people to run for a long time on different surfaces, measuring injury rates in both groups (a prospective trial)? Incredibly, no: despite decades of running research, it’s still an untested idea.3
So it’s not proven that hard-surface running is risky, but it’s not exactly a crazy idea either. It’s a reasonable hypothesis, and there are arguments and evidence both for and against it.
Hard surfaces are innocent! The case for the defense
Here are some of the clues and perspectives that cast doubt on the alleged “danger” of running on roads and sidewalks:
Christopher Hitchens, paraphrasing the Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” (What is freely asserted is freely deserted), in a 2003 Slate article
Hard surfaces are guilty! The case for the prosecution
The science cited above is just about the only science that clearly casts doubt on the dangers of running on roads, none of it is actually direct evidence, and there are caveats and “yeah buts” galore.
My conclusions on the risk question for now
The arguments in summary:
So the jury on this topic is definitely out, and it’s going to stay out for a long time. Having weighed all the arguments and evidence rather thoroughly, here is my opinion for now:
Impact and running injuries
The impact of running is measured in many ways. Loading rate is the main technical way of measuring how jarring a runners’ steps are: how fast load is applied to tissues. Peak acceleration at various anatomical landmarks is another. There’s a lot of research about impact, some of it concerning different surfaces, just a few of those specifically about the relationship between impact and injury. As of the end of 2020, there were only about 18 decent experiments, with too many differences between them to clearly interpret. A review of these by van der Worp et al concluded just a single thing with confidence: a history of stress fractures is associated with a higher impact forces in running gait.14
That’s it. Every other kind of impact/injury connection is still a question mark. “Owing to the absence of prospective studies on other injury types” — the only kind of study that could actually prove that a higher loading rate causes an injury — “it is not possible to draw definite conclusions regarding their relation with loading rate.”
Run like a ninja. Oddly, how hard you hit the ground is not a strong indicator of how much noise you make. However, runners can run more quietly (and softly) when they try!15 Most runners automatically switch to forefoot running when they want to be sneakier, which may be the most practical implication of this research.16
But where there is smoke there is fire! Of all running injuries, stress fractures seem the most obviously relevant to impact, and the evidence does support that assumption: the one established fact. Furthermore, there is a broad association between higher loading rates and runners with all kinds of injuries (no specific one).17 And that’s backed up by a good quality trial from just a little later in 2020: Davis et al found that “all impact-related variables were higher” in 250 women runners who got injured in a year after extensive gait analysis.18 Plus there’s the same implication from Altman 2020 (previously discussed).
So the common-sense idea that impact is injurious appears to have some scientific support.
There are flies in that ointment, of course. Most importantly, “impact” is not equivalent to “hard surface,” as you’ll see in the next section. The limited evidence at this late date in history is noteworthy. And there are some miscellaneous clues that suggest that impact is not straightforwardly injurious.
For instance, Zadpoor et al found that ground reaction forces (how hard you hit the ground) have no correlation with stress fractures, and loading rates (how fast you hit the ground) are only slightly correlated.19 That’s surprising for what seems like the most impact-related running injury. When van der Worp et al concluded that loading rate is associated with stress fractures, it’s probably not the whole story.
Maybe it’s because the stresses that fracture are not simple. The forces in normal running are mostly below the threshold at which we would expect them to cause stress fractures directly, but Milgrom et al demonstrated20 that there are much stronger forces involved in activities that involve greater shear strain,21 probably enough to cause fractures more directly/quickly. Thus it is runners who include a lot of stairs and jumps that are potentially at greater risk for stress fractures than just running, regardless of surfaces. This is just a good example of the thick layers of “it depends” obscuring the truth.
Maybe impact matters … but just matters quite a bit less than other factors, which makes it very hard to separate the impact-signal from the noise of bigger and badder causes. Because there are definitely other risk factors! A giant 2020 study of almost 1700 novice runners in a “Start to Run” program found that a lot of them got hurt (almost 11%), and of those that did get hurt were more likely to be older, heavier, have a history of previous musculoskeletal problems, and less prior running experience.22 Obviously this isn’t direct evidence about impact—it just emphasizes the presence of other “noisy” factors.
And that’s all I’ve got: I am not aware of any other evidence that impact is not an concern, just an absence of ample, conclusive evidence that it is.
And then there’s disconnect between “impact” and “surface.” If impact matters, that’s one thing. But do runners actually experience more impact on harder surfaces? This is really the key to this whole puzzle.
Is grass softer than pavement?
If you hit your head on it, there’s really no question, is there? But we must take nothing for granted! Some science does indeed support the obvious here: a straightforward 2020 experiment produced peak plantar pressures about 12% lower than hard surfaces.23 That’s not a huge difference, but I’m sure it adds up. After two hours of hiking with a 20kg pack, you’d probably be quite grateful for a 12% load lightening. And obviously not all grass is created equal.
Whether or not that 12% difference reduces injury risk is still anybody’s guess.
But hang on, this is way too straightforward for running science. There must be conflicting evidence. And there is: an excellent 2020 experiment by Fu et al found no difference at all in impact forces on any common running surface.24 Er, wut?
There was one key difference between this experiment and Tessutti 2020: their subjects weren’t running as fast. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that a difference would have emerged at higher running speeds.
So Fu et al concluded that “these findings indicated that different running surfaces do not necessarily affect the peak plantar impact and, by implication, impact-related injuries in runners.” But their inference about injuries there is speculation: their findings cannot tell us anything about injury rates, and it’s equally reasonable to assume that runners likely adapt their stride to cope with stiffer surfaces, and that adaptation probably has a cost. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. That is, they may well reduce musculoskeletal stresses in the lower limb at the expense of greater stresses elsewhere — more evenly distributed, but they’re there somewhere.
Pavement seems more than 12% harder than grass
So Fu et al found no difference in lower limb impact forces on different surfaces whatsoever, and Tessutti et al found only a 12% difference between pavement concrete and grass. I don’t know about you, but the last time I hit my head on concrete, it felt a lot more than 12% harder than grass. Indeed it is.
Measuring rubber ball bounces is a good way of getting a nice apples-to-apples comparison of surface hardness without all the messy complexity of running biomechanics interfering. The point of this is that running biomechanics do interfere. Fu et al did this for us:
A ball bounces 152 centimetres on concrete, but just 80 on grass, only slightly more than half as high. Clearly grass absorbs a lot of energy!
And so do runners. The take-home message from both Tessutti et al and Fu et al is that we adapt to different surfaces so well that the differences in forces on our lower limbs is either nil or negligible. Which is neat. But the real question is what that adaptation super-power costs us, and that is still unknown.
Impact and intervertebral disc health
Slow running and fast walking are surprisingly good for intervertebral discs, but they can’t adapt to faster and more jarring running.25 This is a great (and interesting) example of more indirect evidence that running on pavement is risky.
Back pain isn’t usually considered a common running injury, but it is — many runners struggle with it. The spine is part of the spring shock-absorption system, both flexing and compressing, and the tough little jelly-filled donuts of connective tissue between the vertebrae are a key component.
For decades, experts assumed that the jarring impact of running (at any speed) constitutes a source of relentless wear and tear on the spine, and that the discs in particular probably cannot keep up with the onslaught, and aren’t able to adapt and recover — a slow losing battle. This assumption was mostly based on data low tissue “turnover rates” — how slowly disc tissue is replaced. But new evidence, the first of its kind, suggests exactly the opposite: “tissue adaptation will occur in the intervertebral disc with exercise.”
Discs are much “juicier” in runners: “better hydration and glycosaminoglycan content” by a wide margin. Discs are also thicker in runners, but only a little. These results were found in runners aged 25-35 with a five year history of running at about the same level, and the benefits were slightly greater in long-distance runners (more than 50K per week).
But additional data collected from 10 runners revealed a critical caveat: the improvements were associated with “fast walking and slow jogging,” while the link weakened at both slower and faster speeds (under 1.5m/s and running over 2.5m/s), or with high-impact jumping. It was a just-right intensity of the stimulus to the discs that mattered. And discs appear not to adapt to too much.
This is about a hundred scientific miles from good support for the claim that “running on pavement is harder on your discs,” but it is nevertheless quite suggestive. Clearly discs do absorb shock, and adapt to that stimulus, but there is a speed limit … and I’m betting that limit is little higher on springier surfaces. Again, the more shock absorption is provided by the surface, the less the body has to do.
Lack of variety in running surface
Is it possible that the issue isn’t the hardness of the surface, or not just that, but the relentless same-ness of the surface?
It’s possible, yes. There isn’t a scrap of evidence about it one way or the other, of course, but it’s an interesting hypothesis I hope someone will test someday: all other things being equal, a slightly uneven surface leads to more injuries than a perfectly smooth one.
Most recreational runners are running on sidewalks and paved paths. Any sunny morning, you can see hundreds of them on the seawall in downtown Vancouver, where I live. They never touch the grass or the sand. A hard, constant surface feels like the path of least resistance. But on an unvarying surface, your body is subjected to exactly the same forces with every strike of the foot. The biomechanics of each step are identical. If tissue ever fails under load — which obviously it does — it may fail sooner if the load is applied more consistently.
Also, the body is given little chance to adapt to any other stresses. Same-surface and hard-surface runners tend to become strong in one way, but weak in others — and therefore perhaps that is another way to become vulnerable to injury, particularly IT band syndrome.
The seawall around Stanley park in Vancouver, Canada, one of the most popular running routes on Earth — & deserted when I took this photo, because it had just been re-paved & it wasn’t officially re-opened. Shh.
IT band syndrome on the road
The most classic runner’s injury is the repetitive strain injury known as iliotibial band syndrome. If pavement has anything to do with IT band syndrome, it’s probably the lack of variation in the surface, not the impact per se.
One possible cause of this condition is a relative weakness of the gluteus medius and minimus. This is a controversial theory, and I don’t quite buy it yet, but it’s looking firmer now than it did in the 2000s.26 It has gotten fashionable lately to strengthen hips to prevent knee IT band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome. In addition to being surprisingly powerful primary running muscles,27 these gluteal muscles also control side-to-side movement of the hips, a part of core stability. On a flat surface, they probably aren’t needed as much, because it’s much easy to stay balanced on a flat surface. They don’t exactly atrophy, but the other leg muscles get disproportionately stronger. This may be a risk factor for IT band syndrome.
Another interesting idea is the possibility that the road camber (angle) creates relentless asymmetric forces that lead to injury. Citation needed … but unavailable, of course.
Shin splints on the road
As mentioned earlier, Milgrom et al showed that running (especially when it involves stairs, due to shearing forces) is stressful for shins, resulting in the triple threat of the three main kinds of shin splints: (1) medial tibial stress syndrome, (2) compartment syndrome, and (3) stress fractures. (The term “shin splints” is not diagnostically meaningful in itself: it just means “shin pain.”) All three can be show-stoppers for serious runners.
Although humans are great at adaptive shock absorption, there are limits, and highly repetitive pounding on a hard surface may break the tibia (stress fracture). The tibialis anterior and other shin muscles have the job of preventing the foot from “slapping” — if something didn’t hold the foot up a little bit after heel-strike, the forefoot would slap down loudly and awkwardly. On a hard surface, the transition from heel strike is particularly intense. It’s the tibialis anterior muscle that controls it, with strong and well-timed eccentric contractions that ease the foot down, somewhat like the biceps lowering a barbell — except it’s more like catching a barbell that’s being dropped from five feet up … hundreds of times in a row. You see the problem.
Eccentric contractions are a bit strange. How, exactly, does a muscle both contract and lengthen at the same time? There is obviously a need to lengthen muscle while still bearing a load, or you could never put anything down. But, believe it or not, despite a working theory about the chemistry of muscle contraction that’s been around for decades, no one really knows how eccentric contractions actually work.28 About all we do know is that they tend to cause much greater delayed onset (post-exercise) muscle soreness. Presumably, this also means that they are harder on the muscle.
Caution! Compartment syndromes do exist, regardless of whether they explain chronic shin pain, and you should never try to “run through” steadily worsening shin pain. Swelling of the tibialis anterior is not self-limiting and has the potential to literally kill the muscles of your shin … or even you via blood poisoning.
Use a muscle hard enough, and it will start to hurt. This may be the only problem with so-called “compartment syndrome,” where supposedly the tibialis anterior swells in its muscle sheath and gets oxygen starved. Frankly-Miller et al. have argued that there is no strong evidence of a connection between pressure and chronic pain, and chronic exertional compartment syndrome is misnamed: it’s just irritated muscle, and it can be fixed just by tuning running technique to make life easier for the tibialis anterior.29 They call it “biomechanical overload syndrome.” If they are right about the nature of the beast, running on a less rigid surfaces would probably also be helpful.
Finally, the same forces that can put the tibialis anterior in this sorry state may also start to simply strain the connective tissues wrapping around the bone and/or the underlying bone (“medial tibial stress syndrome”).
Patellofemoral pain on the road
Both kinds of runners knee, IT band syndrome & patellofemoral pain, are probably aggravated by running on hard & even surfaces.
Yet another common runner’s injury may be bothered by hard surfaces: patellofemoral syndrome. Unlike with shin splints, there’s no superficially obvious problem with impact forces. The actual problem isn’t hard to understand, though: the less give there is in the road, the more the legs have to do the job of shock absorption. The body does this well, but it means that you are using the joints more — a tiny little bit more flex with every step. It adds up!
When you step off the road, or even a slightly softer road, there’s just a little bit less for the joints to do.
The problem with patellofemoral pain is usually tissue fatigue around or near the joint between the patella and the femur. This joint is always working hard. Pressures under the kneecap are spectacular even when nothing spectacular is going on: when the knee is flexed, it’s naturally cinched up against the front of the knee so hard that you literally couldn’t get it off with a crowbar (the bone before you could move it. It’s amazing that the tissue mostly handles these pressures. But of course if we chronically demand maximum performance, they may stop coping so well.
Plantar fasciitis on the road
Sandpaper your arches until they are raw and then go for a barefoot run: that’s what plantar fasciitis feels like. This common repetitive strain injury involves fatigue of the connective tissues of the arch, the plantar fascia, which are part of the system that makes the arch springy. The less give there is in the running surface, the more the arch has to do its thing. And the less variation there is in the running surface, the more exactly the same the loading on the plantar fascia with every step. While there’s no evidence that this actually a problem, we do know that plantar fasciitis is prevalent in manufacturing, where workers usually work on concrete, and “work stations that decrease the percentage of time walking or standing on hard surfaces may lower the risk for plantar fasciitis.”30 Chances are good that’s true for runners too, because they use hard surfaces even more intensely.
And a soft data point: people with plantar fasciitis really don’t like to stand on pavement, and find shoes with good arch support to be a great relief. These are classic features of the condition.
Alternatives to running on hard, even surfaces
Softer and uneven surfaces have their own risks of course — like tripping! and twisting ankles — but if you’re prone to recurrence of any of the injuries discussed above, you may prefer some new risks for a while.
Even chip trails and other groomed trails may not be enough of a departure from paved surfaces — it may be soft, but it’s still same-surface running. We have evolved miraculously complex reflexes and musculature that can keep us upright on virtually any surface, even shifting surfaces like the deck of a ship. To develop and maintain a well-rounded fitness, all of those reflexes and musculature need to be constantly stimulated and challenged.
Ideally, your run should be on soft, constantly changing, and unstable surfaces — but not so unstable that your risk of tripping and spraining spikes absurdly high, of course.
I live in downtown Vancouver, which is runner’s Heaven: miles of scenic seawall running. The seawall itself is paved. But for most of its length, you can stay off of it, and run on beaches or grass, hop over logs and benches, go up and down hills, even scramble over rocks.
Alas, most people don’t have the option of running on the beach. The solution is what I call “urban cross-country.” The key to urban cross-country is creativity: do anything you can to vary your running surface, and to get off the concrete every chance you get. Put parks on your route whenever possible. If it’s a small one, run around it on the grass five times before continuing. No park? Run on people’s lawns! The sidewalk is not your path: everything else is. Look for stairs and steep hills, and put them in your route. Run with one foot on the curb and one foot off for a block.
Getting the idea? Just do anything you can think of to keep changing the stresses on your body.
But the devil is in the details. For instance, all-terrain running is probably a different kind of risk factor for iliotibial band syndrome specifically, because that condition is infamously irritated by running down hills.
Roger Davies and natural posture running
Roger Davies, running researcher and medal winner in the 800-metre run at the 2005 World Masters Games in Spain, recommends a running technique in a similar spirit called “natural posture” running. He believes that adult runners need to imitate the running style of children, leaning forward with their arms swinging and feet flat. “Your body has to get back to its natural self,” Davies says. “Loose shoulders, loose hips. A lot of us are very tight.”31
The loss of well-rounded fitness in our society is in part the inspiration for the “core stability” exercising trend, and explains the burgeoning popularity of Pilates and Yoga. We probably lose core stability without a variety of exercise. While core stability exercise may have its place in our lives, core stability training for its own sake would probably be much less necessary if only we would walk and run on the sand or the grass more often.
Impact reduction take-home points
Stay off concrete as much as possible. Prefer tracks and treadmills for the bounciest of all options, the best at giving you some of your impact energy back and reducing the load on your biomechanical spring. (Grass, sand, and chip trails are much softer than pavement, but are more like running on foam: mushy, not springy.)
I work just a couple blocks from a running track. I don’t usually walk there, because I’d far rather stick to tree-lined streets and parks. But if my plantar fasciitis flared up, for example, I’d absolutely make walking on that track part of my rehab regimen, because that surface is obviously springier than anything else I can walk on regularly. Not everyone has such a convenient option, of course, but it’s an instructive idea.
If you can’t find a springy surface to run on, put a spring in your step?
Run more gently. Avoid that jarring feeling! Experiment with your running style; do anything that feels less like you’re slamming your feet down. We can definitely run more softly if we try to,35 most easily by shifting to a forefoot impact and basically running more like a tiptoeing cartoon thief; barefoot running or minimal shoes help with this, as they strongly discourage heel impact and so we shift our impact to the forefoot. But there are trade-offs! Forefoot impact undoubtedly shifts the burden between tissues, which might help solve patellofemoral pain while risking new injuries. More about this in the next section.
Alternatively, another strategy for running softer is probably less prone to dicey trade-offs: slow down and take smaller steps! Basically just run less aggressively, period.
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About Paul Ingraham
I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.
What’s new in this article?
Fourteen updates have been logged for this article. All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. more When’s the last time you read a blog post and found a list of many changes made to that page since publication? Like good footnotes, this sets PainScience.com apart from other health websites and blogs. Although footnotes are more useful, the update logs are important. They are “fine print,” but more meaningful than most of the comments that most Internet pages waste pixels on.
I log any change to articles that might be of interest to a keen reader. Complete update logging of all noteworthy improvements to all articles started in 2020. Prior to that, I only logged major updates for the most popular and controversial articles.
See the What’s New? page for updates to all recent site updates.
2020 — Added a substantive point to the arguments against running on hard surfaces, about the effect of surface springiness. Also, a nice citation about low rates of arthritis in marathoners (see Ponzio 2020.
2020 — Science update: changed the description of the nature of chronic exertional compartment syndrome based on Franklyn-Miller et al (because it may be mis-named), and added a citation to Lenhart et al regarding the function of the gluteus medius and minimus.
2020 — New section: “Impact reduction take-home points.”
2020 — New section on intervertebral disc adaptation to running as indirect evidence that running on pavement may be risky, based on Belavý et al .
2020 — Added a footnote about the importance of psychological factors in rehab (such as not being scared of the surface you run on). Added beefy footnotes about springing and muscle tuning: two biomechanical shock absorption tactics in human biology.
2020 — Lots of new information about impact forces on different surfaces, mostly based on Fu et al . This is the sixth substantial update so far in 2020. Phew: what a rabbit hole!
2020 — Many miscellaneous improvements. I’ve now mostly completed the process of eliminating the assumption that pavement is risky from the old second half of the article.
2020 — Widened and deepened the discussion of the science of impact and injury. Added citations about stress fractures and grass versus concrete hardness.
2020 — Polishing of the arguments for and against road running. Added much more information about the science of the relationship between injury and impact forces.
2020 — More introduction polish and much more thorough rebuttals the arguments against the riskiness of running on pavement.
2020 — Another wave of revisions: the scientific uncertainties now permeate the whole intro; all the arguments against “running pavement is risky” are now much more thorough; title is now a question: “Is Running on Pavement Risky?”
2020 — New section, “Citation badly needed! Are roads really risky?” This now introduces the uncertainties on this topic more thoroughly, with some relevant links and citations.
2020 — The premise of this article needs questioning. I’ve added a prominent, important caution to the introduction about the lack of evidence that any running surface is actually risky. I also removed and changed some a few particularly overconfident statements about injury risk. Major revisions forthcoming.
2020 — Added a new section about plantar fasciitis.
In this survey of 675 marathoners, there was no link between current arthritis symptoms and their running history, and they had a lower rate of arthritis than the general population. That is, no matter how much they ran, they had the same low rate of arthritis: about 9%, compared to 18% in non-runners. Obviously this is nice news that challenges the assumption that relentless “pounding” on the road is hard on joints, but for better evidence based on longer-term data, see Lo.
This simple experiment showed that runners adapt to changes in the hardness of the surface they are running on with amazing speed — just a single step — as measured in terms of maintaining the height of their centre of mass. Importantly, this nearly instantaneous adaptation only occurs with an expected change on familiar surfaces, but we are probably pretty quick with unexpected and unfamiliar surface changes as well.
We have a couple of main biological shock absorption tricks:
For this study, fifteen experienced male hikers walked down a 36˚ test ramp 30 times with poles and 30 times without, and with three different loads: nothing, a light pack, and a heavy pack (30% of bodyweight). A force plate in the ramp measured the intensity of their foot impact, and they were videotaped to get measurements of their joint movement. Consistent with other cited research, the use of poles resulted in significantly reduced forces, movement, and power around the knees and ankles. Interestingly, it didn’t matter how heavy the pack was: “packs only resulted in a larger power generation at the hip.”
Even though Altman et al showed that injury rates were the same in barefoot runners, there’s an incredibly important caveat: the barefoot runners they tested put in just 24km/week, while runners in shoes ran 41km/week! Injury rates invariably go up with training volume. So what would the injury rate have been for the barefoot runners if they had almost doubled their distance to match the shod runners? Probably higher! As Alex Hutchinson put it for Runner’s World, “The only way the comparison has any relevance is if they’re arguing that barefoot running reduces injuries by preventing you from running as much as you’d like.”
It’s all still debatable, but in my opinion I think both common sense and some evidence now suggest that pounding the pavement without padding is almost certainly more injurious — which suggests that pounding pavement is probably more stressful than pounding trail.
This was a study of the relationship between the loudness of foot strikes in running and several technical measures of forces on the lower limb. Twenty-six runners were tested when instructed to run quietly versus normally. Most runners (77%) switched to a forefoot running style. The surprise finding is that natural variation in footstrike volume has no direct relationship with smaller, slower impact forces when running normally. In other words, there are some quiet runners with a surprisingly jarring gait, and some loud runners who aren’t pounding nearly as hard as you’d think. Odd.
Not so surprisingly, actually trying to run quietly does soften footstrike.
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This study of studies tries to determine if stress fractures are connected to ground reaction forces (the force of your strike) or with loading rates (how fast the force is applied, i.e. more slowly or more jarring). They found that the force you are striking with has no connection with stress fractures, but the “the vertical loading rate was found to be significantly different between the two groups.” So it’s not how hard you hit the ground, but how fast you hit it. However, the science was murky on something important: the correlation identified is statistically “significant,” but the size of the correlation is not impressive. So it’s how fast you hit the ground, but probably only to a modest degree. Presumably there are quite a few variables involved, which reduces the importance of even the most seemingly obvious risk factors.
Science news flash! Shoes wear out: “Scanning electron microscopy shows that structural damage (wrinkling of faces and some holes) occurred in the foam after 750 km run. Fatigue of the foam reduces heelstrike cushioning, and is a possible cause of running injuries.”
When shoes wear out, the biomechanics of running do change. Kong et al tested 24 runners before and after 200 miles of road-running in the same pair of shoes. There were a few minor changes: longer stance phase, less forward leaning, and less ankle flexion. Hip and knee angles were unchanged. (Also, 200 miles is not much — a strangely low number for this study, actually — and the impact on biomechances may only just be getting started by then.)
I do recommend replacing your shoes when they begin to show obvious signs of wear. The risk of running in decrepit shoes may be small, but there’s not much reason to take that risk — just the modest cost of buying shoes somewhat more often. It’s not like you weren’t going to buy new shoes eventually! On the other hand, this data makes it pretty clear that replacing shoes while they still look fine isn’t really going to make much of a difference.
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