Running on the road is something a lot of people do as it’s the convenient option. The majority of populated areas are paved, and a lot of them have running paths. However, there are a lot of reasons why it’s worth it to switch to trail running. Whether your preferred run is in a wild mountain or a park, below are seven reasons why you should reap the benefits that come from trail running.
- Balance increase
Most trails are uneven and riddled with obstacles, such as tree roots, mud, and rocks. To avoid these hazards, you need to increase your mental focus and awareness. The combination of this increased focus and your body movements to avoid obstacles will improve your overall stability and balance.
- Stronger core and legs
To maintain the balance we mentioned above, you activate more muscle groups as your body weight is constantly shifting during your run. This stabilizes your leg, feet, and ankle muscles, as well as your core. Also, the shifting terrain and rolling hills force your body to engage different muscle groups than when you’re running on a flat paved road.
- Decreased impact
Since the terrain of the trail is softer and has less rebound than pavement, your gluteus, quadriceps and hip flexor muscles are required to engage more. Additionally, your body is less impacted, especially your legs. Varied surfaces while running help decrease any potential injuries due to impact and overuse.
- Increased ankle stability and strength
A common ailment of road runners is ankle injuries. These injuries are more common while running on roads, due to potholes and curbs. As we mention above, trail running provides the different running surface, which increases your muscle engagement. Your foot and ankle muscles also stabilize, which they don’t normally do in the monotonous conditions of the road.
- Traffic avoidance
While running on a trail, you avoid all road hazards, including stoplights, distracted drivers, and busy intersections. Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind while running on a trail also, but you’re not likely to encounter any human-made dangers or obstacles.
- Peace and quiet
During a trail run, you are surrounded by the sounds of nature, not honks, beeps or sirens. Hearing the chirping of birds or the sound of water running can be very relaxing and focus increasing. There are many health benefits from being outdoors and getting away from the city for a while. Some of these advantages include increased happiness, concentration, and even healing. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
- Take a break from monotony
Trail running might make you feel like a kid in a playground. You can treat the obstacles you encounter (streams, puddles, logs, etc.) as things to jump over or climb, making it a great game to play. You will face a constant sense of adventure during your run, never seeing the same thing twice and forgetting about never-ending gray roads.