Tired of running around the same block or running aimlessly on a treadmill at the gym? Well, here are some of the best reasons to change up your run and head outdoors to the trails.
1. Physical benefits
Running comes with many physical benefits, such as the strengthening of the heart and cardiovascular system, improved bone density in the legs and hips, as well as the strengthening of the leg muscles. These benefits apply to both road and trail running; however when training on the trails, these physical benefits are amplified due to the many variables (elevation, altitude and terrain) which are encountered during trail running.
2. Improved emotional health
Training outdoors has many added benefits, beyond just the physical rewards. Running in nature, assists with reducing mental stress, depression and tension, while increasing energy, positivity and creativity.
Partaking in an outdoor activity such as trail running is also more enjoyable, thus, you are more likely to repeat the activity and uphold your physical goals.
3. Tests endurance and activates different muscle groups
When running on a road or treadmill, the surface on which you run remains flat and stable, allowing for a faster, more constant and controlled pace. When trail running, you are faced with many variables such as elevation, altitude and terrains, these factors challenge one both physical and emotionally, and will have a direct impact on your pace, endurance and stamina.
Trail running is known to assist roadrunners with activating different muscle groups, both in the legs and the core. This assists roadrunners with stabilization, reducing muscle pressure and strengthening those important muscle groups to increase endurance.
4. Better on the knees
The natural, softer, surface, which the trail offers, reduces the pounding, which your knees and joints take while running. If you struggle with joint injuries, you may want to consider taking to the trails before the road.
While trail running is better on the knees, the room for error is a lot higher. With many obstacles, such as rocks, overhanging branches and surface levels to manoeuvre, one needs to ensure that you are focused from the get go, in order to avoid injury.
5. Burns more calories
If you are looking to burn calories, then trail running is the answer. The varying terrains, increased elevation and change in altitudes, result in an increased heart rate and in turn more calories burnt. So, if you’re looking to burn off that extra winter layer, start with the trails.
6. Better air quality
Break the monotony of your daily run around the block and head to the trails for some fresh air. Running in the mountains allows you to break free from the city pollution, and take in the good quality air which the mountains offer. This will improve your lung capacity and give your respiratory system a break for the carbon monoxide.