10 Reasons Why I Love to Hit the Trails
- Increased Balance – There’s obstacles and hazards everywhere so in order to prevent stepping on or even falling over such hazards, a far greater level of bodily awareness is required than typically needed when running on paved roads. The greater bodily awareness combined with the constant shifting of your body weight to avoid such obstacles will help increase your overall balance and stability
- Stronger Legs and Core – To maintain balance, more muscle groups are activated throughout your run to compensate for the constant shifting of your body weight. The softer terrain also acts as added resistance to your legs. Quadriceps, hip flexors and glutes are forced to engage more than they do on the pavement.
- Less Impact – Trail surfers are typically softer than that of pavement or concrete which means less force is being applied to your body from the running surface, specifically your legs, resulting in lower impact and lower stress. This can also help prevent overuse injuries.
- Ankle Strength and Flexibility– The varying terrain combined with numerous obstacles forces greater proprioception and muscle engagement, specifically stabilizing muscles such as those in the foot and ankle.
- Hill Training in Disguise – Hills on a trail run will typically vary in grade (steepness) and length, thus constantly challenging your legs and lungs with variety.
- Avoid Traffic – Forget playing ‘chicken’ with cell phone distracted drivers. Secluded trails mean that you’ll avoid traffic lights, busy intersections and other hazards that come with traffic.
- Enjoy the Quiet– Many people find the sounds of nature, such as birds chirping or the running of water in a stream to be very relaxing. This has numerous health benefits including increased happiness, improved concentration and even improved healing. It’s a time to appreciate the break from the stress and commotion of everyday life.
- Avoid Monotony – Trail running is akin to being a kid on a playground. There are puddles to jump, streams to jump over, logs to climb and trees to duck under. Trails are a constant adventure.
- You can “Get In The Zone” – Trail running requires intense focus as you weave and dodge the endless obstacles and uneven surfaces, yet this kind of focus is both exhilarating and energising.
- Mental Break – Trail running beats chugging around on the asphalt jungle in town. When you’re running the trail, there’s less stress about your time and pace. This allows you to enjoy your run, which is a major component of maintaining consistency in your training over time.