Trail running benefits, Benefits of trail running, Is trail running good for weight loss, Reasons to try trail running, Does trail running build muscle

Running is one of the fastest growing sports out there, and for good reason – it’s simple and affordable. Whether you’ve been doing it for years or have just recently invested in your first pair of running shoes, consider exchanging your usual treadmill or neighborhood route for something a little more daring. Awaken your inner adventurer, leave civilization behind (for a while), and give trail running a go. Let’s take a look at these eight surprising benefits of trail running.

1. Better Scenery

Hands down, the vistas you’ll experience during a trail run will be superior to anything you’ve seen on the road – or a treadmill. Getting off the beaten path allows you to see things that the high traffic areas fail to deliver.

2. It’s Good For Your Soul

Immersing yourself in nature is flat-out good for you. The gorgeous views and quiet serenity can counteract stress and anxiety. In fact, a study performed by the University of Michigan found walks in nature “were associated with significantly lower depression, perceived stress, and negative affect, as well as enhanced positive affect and mental well-being.If you’ve been feeling down or strung out, find your nearest trail head and let your worries go.

3. It’s a Boredom Buster

Even if you run a different route every day or watch a different show on the treadmill, your routine is bound to leave you bored and burnt out eventually. You can only look at so many houses, cars and fellow gym-goers before you reach a breaking point. Mixing up your routine with a trail run every now and again will ensure you stay present and engaged in your runs.

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4. Lowered Risk of Injury

Your joints take a beating when you spend your time running on concrete and asphalt – the two primary surfaces found in urban areas. Trails are lined with soft dirt, wood chips and vegetation that give your feet and joints some much-needed cushioning. Reducing the constant impact on your body will reduce your risk of injury. Even just replacing 1-2 road runs per week with a trail run will do wonders, and your body will thank you.

5. It’s a Breath of Fresh Air

One of the most important trial running benefits for our health. The air in urban areas has a tendency to be congested and full of pollutants, especially when you’re breathing in car exhaust as you run along the road. You can ditch the industrial pollution by heading inside to your favorite treadmill, but then you have the luxury of enjoying human pollution – people panting and sweating on the machines all around you, yuck! On a trail run, you can savor the clean, oxygen-rich air, basking in the scents of nature.

6. It Improves Your Running

The obstacles and uneven terrain you encounter during trail running can be a great running coach. In order to navigate the trail, you’re forced to shorten your stride a bit and be more conscious of your foot placement. Spend enough time on the trail and you may find you have a more efficient stride – especially if you previously had a tendency of over-striding on flat surfaces.

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7. You’ll Get Stronger

The constant ups and downs of the unstable turf found in trail running will strengthen your legs far better than the flat, even surface of a road or treadmill. Yes, you can adjust the incline of a treadmill, but that’s nothing compared to what nature can give you – not to mention the fact that you can’t truly run downhill on a treadmill. Regular trail running will improve muscle, tendon and ligament strength, making you a stronger athlete who’s less susceptible to injury.

8. It’s a Humbling Experience

You may be able to turn in impressive times when you’re running a road race, but run that same distance on a trail and you’ll be singing a different tune. In order to keep from sprawling face-down on the trail, you’ll have to slow down and choose each step wisely. While you may be running slower, don’t think for a second it’ll be easier – your entire body is working harder to get you up, down and over everything that lies in your path.