7th June 2023

6 benefits of trail running – Global Running Day

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Bored of the same old running routes and routines? If so, trail running is exactly what you need and the reality and beauty of trail running is that anyone can do it, all you need is a solid pair of running shoes.  

Often when people start running, it can be easy to gravitate towards the treadmill or the road. But, from stunning locations to fitness gains and making new friends, trail running is the ideal next step for runners new and old. 

Check out the 6 benefits you’ll find when start off on your off-road adventure.  

Enjoying stunning outdoor locations:

There is only so much grey concrete, so many exhaust fumes and takeaway shops you can run past before the fulfilment of running becomes tiresome. 

The sense of green exercise is very attractive for joggers. Embracing the feeling of fresh air and the smell of the great outdoors as you lace up and hit the turf on a nice summer’s day is rising in popularity, with trail running growing at a rate of 15% each year for the past decade. As well as the sense of freedom you get when you run past breath taking locations, it’s also a great opportunity for you to snap some awe-inspiring pics to impress your friends. 

Boosting your health: 

You may presume that maxing out the speed on the treadmill will burn more calories, but in fact you lose 10% more calories trail running. This is due to rugged terrain and mix of inclines littered with high speed, trial running is a more effective workout, so if burning calories is your goal, you’re in luck with trail runs.  

Improving physical strength: 

The resistance of running uphill increases leg strength, ankle strength, flexibility, and balance! Running down steep hills improves lower leg strength and conditions against run impact. In addition to making you an improved physical trial runner, your performance will be assisted massively by your positive emotional and psychological mood.  

Positive effects on your Mental health: 

Trail running has a plethora of psychological benefits and the Mental Health Foundation found that ‘people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile.’ Trail running gives you the best opportunity to exercise this crucial element for improving and sustaining good mental health and wellbeing. Taking in deep breaths as you scamper along the trail, listening to the soothing sounds of the wildlife and the smell of the flower plants is a great way to relax your mind and focus on the next step. 

  • More productive sleep: There is a close relationship between sleep and mental health and depending on the time of day you exercise; high outdoor cardio can help reset your body clock and help you get to sleep faster. Your body temperature changes as you experience the outdoor elements, but once you return home your body effectively ‘lumps into sleep mode’ and allows for a much more productive sleep.  
  • Reduction in anxiety: Other than the boost in serotonin, cardio exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. NHS England state that our stress, anxiety, depression as well as our moods can be altered and improved by simply implementing running into our lives. 
  • Improvement in confidence:  As you continue to improve your technique and physic, your confidence grows with each workout, and you gather evidence of our resilience and determination.  
  • Sense of achievement: Whenever you do any form of exercise it makes you feel good! However, regardless of your pace, distance and ability and navigating yourself through multiple terrain is a huge achievement. Running on the same street. On the same machine, listening to the same noises from same people can get dull. Rambling through the woods, hopping from step to step around rocks, roots, and ruts, surrounded by nature and completely a new route is a much more exciting prospect.  

Strategic thinking:  

While the immediate effect of running is the release of dopamine and other endorphins, there is also evidence to suggest trail running increases your cognitive development.  

Running has huge benefit not only to your physical health, but it can really benefit you day-to-day working life.  Research from Dr. Nereida suggests that it can improve your cognitive faculties such as attention, focus, memory, and problem-solving.) 

Trail running allows our minds to be focused on the task at hand, which requires more concentration than on a road run, so if you would like to become more productive at work, trail running should be implemented into your training regime.   

Help reduce risk of injury: 

With each strike against the tarmac, you’re hitting the same muscles over and over. The joints are placed under a lot of pressure and the flat unchanging nature of the urban environment means that those joints are experiencing repeated impact. 

As an off-road runner, you will encounter mixed terrain surfaces, meaning your gait and foot strike is slightly different each stride and will spread the impact over a great range of muscles. 

This year’s Ultimate Running Series: 

Now you have the got the reasons to take up trail running, now it’s time to just do that. 4 runs. 4 counties and 4 opportunities for you to enjoy the benefits that trail running has to offer.  

From Dalby to Delamere, this year’s Ultimate Running Series is this an event not to missed with 5k and 10k routes available in some of the UK’s most idyllic trail running destinations.