6 Health Benefits of Trail Running

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If you’re tired of running the same routes on city streets or on the treadmill, then trail running may be a great way to break the boredom, reduce your risk of injury, and challenge yourself in a new way.

Trail running is exactly what it sounds like: lacing up those sneakers to clock the miles in nature. The difference between road running and trail running is that trail running is a bit more unpredictable, meaning you are not guaranteed a smooth, paved path.

While elevation changes may occur in both road and trail running, depending on the location, trail running may also have unpredictable terrain with surfaces (such as rocks, roots, and streams) that require a special shoe designed to help support your foot during this style of workout.

Health Benefits of Trail Running

Road running and trail running share similar benefits such as improved aerobic fitness, increased muscular endurance, and a boost for mental health. 

The cardiovascular outcomes are likely comparable between both types of running, research has yet to determine whether trail running provides a greater cardiovascular benefit than road running. 

Nevertheless, science has shown us that trail running indeed has health benefits that extend far beyond our physical health. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

1. Promotes Longevity
  • A recent 2020 systematic review has shown that running was associated with a lower risk of death related to cardiovascular and cancer disease states in both men and women.
  • This review did not have specific trends for weekly volume, pace, duration, or even terrain, yet noted that some running (or jogging) versus no running (or jogging) proved to have improved health in participants as well as longevity benefits.
2. Improves Cardiovascular Health
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  • Whether running or jogging, you are moving more than just the muscles in your legs.
  • With every stride you take, your heart is pumping out blood to help support your workout while strengthening itself over time.
3. Improves Muscular Strength and Balance
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  • Runners may see improvements in lower limb strength, balance, and neuromuscular benefits. 
  •  Plus, it reduces the impact on the joints due to the softer surface which may, in turn, reduce the risk of injury.
4. Boosts Mood and Mental Well-Being
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  • One of the best ways to get your “vitamin N” (nature) in to improve mental well-being, is to run outdoors on trails. And the research agrees!
  • According to a 2020 study, participants who logged up to 6.5 miles of running on trails self-reported higher wellness and health scores on the surveys.
5. Promotes Community
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  • In a run funk? Grab your friends and lace-up together for the trails, or consider joining a running group to embrace the community aspect that running can provide.
  • Trail running can bring some fun and joy back to a lot of runners, who spend their time so focused on paces when hitting the road.

Source: https://www.verywellfit.com/5-health-benefits-of-trail-running-5190504

Author: Devika

Devika, M.Sc, NET Qualified is passionate about helping people discover the power of nourishing real food. She specializes in weight management, therapeutic nutrition, food allergies and intolerances, inflammatory diseases, gut health, and functional nutrition. Her approach blends a conventional health care and nutrition background with natural and science-based therapies.