As a collegiate runner, I run on both trails and roads alike. Though recently I have been favoring trail running more than its paved counterpart. There is something about being in the outdoors and running on challenging terrain that trail running provides. The runner’s high I feel after conquering a peak or the excitement of seeing wildlife is unmatched by most of the roads I run on.
Unsurprisingly, trail running offers a lot of health benefits to those who practice it. The health benefits that come with trail running are like the health benefits that come with hiking or just being in nature in general. I came up with a short list showing just what those benefits are and how they can benefit you the next time you decide to go to your local trail!
Running in the outdoors is scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm the mind. In my experience, focusing on my environment while running gives me an escape from anything that might be on my mind.
Build Strength, Prevent Injury, and Increase Balance
Since trails are made of uneven terrain, your body uses different muscles for stabilization. While active, the stimulation of these muscles strengthens your ankles, legs, hips, and core. A paved road does not require the use of extra muscles that trails require. The constant pounding of pavement will lead to the overuse of the same muscle and can eventually lead to injury.
Most trails forbid cars to be on its path. This can allow you to finally relax a bit and let loose! I know whenever I am on the road, I constantly look over my shoulder on the lookout for winding cars. Your still not in the clear though. One word: mountain bikers. Oh and potential wildlife too!
There are plenty more benefits to trail running, but a million words cannot describe the joy of trail running. I hope this article was useful to you in one way or another!