|Mt Lanaya (Cebu)|
Exercise is a way of life for many of us, and a good chunk of our cohort enjoy the benefits of running. And why not? Euphoric highs can come from the body releasing stress when endorphins kick in during a run. Plus the overall health of a runner is usually very good, as running works so many of the body’s muscles. Many city dwellers have no choice but to run on sidewalks or along streets, but for those fortunate enough to have a choice between being on streets versus running on trails, it would behoove you to pick trails for the added benefits that the experience will bring you!
Exercise For Your Eyes and Mind
Getting out into nature offers a different experience than being amongst tall buildings, signs and people. When running on a trail through a park or forest, a feast of calming beauty that’s not available around honking horns and traffic is at your feet. Your run will be so much more relaxing and your psyche will be so much more calm when you emerge from a run through tall, towering trees dotted with sunlight flickering through the branches. Breathe in the fresh air instead of exhaust from automobiles. Feast your eyes on the simple pleasures of birds and butterflies darting around the forest and let your ears hear the twitters and tweets from the same.
Your Joints Will Thank You
Concrete is an unforgiving surface. Studies have shown that people that routinely jog or run vigorously on concrete sidewalks or roads have more knee and leg injuries over time than people that run on more cushioned or malleable substances. Most trails have paths made specifically for runners. Bike trails, while asphalted for bikes, will usually have side areas running along them for runners and walkers to use. These reasons are two-fold: one, to keep people on foot out of the way of quick moving bicyclists and two, to give the foot traffic an alternative to hard-surface exercising.
Running on softer surfaces like dirt, gravel or leafy coverings soften the blow of the foot meeting the ground. Think of it like a shock absorber of a car. Compare the overall feel of your legs and body after a trail run versus a street run and you will notice that your legs do not feel as fatigued or sore the next day. If you are a frequent runner, going on multiple outings a week, you will definitely be helping your knees, hips and legs to carry you much longer if you run on the softer surfaces that trails provide. Additionally, trail running also offers more varied terrain with a slight hill here or there, a curve in the forest or dip in the landscape. Altered movements resulting from this also allows the participant to vary the muscles used in a run, while a straight street won’t.
Trail running is a much safer atmosphere than street running. When running on streets, one has to be alert and on guard to hazards in front, behind and around them. When running on a trail along a bike path or through a forest, as long as one practices overall safety, such as running where there are many others doing the same or running in a group through a lonely forest, a jaunt through nature offers an atmosphere where the person can truly relax and just tune in to their body and beauty surrounding them.
Invest some time researching your own neighborhood or city and see where there are possible trails available for you to use for your run. Even if it is only occasional use, it will still enhance your running routine. Be sure when trail running to truly enjoy and appreciate the beauty that is around you. You’ll be glad you did!
Author Joseph Rodriguez writes about all things related to health. His recent work is his plans to earn of the Top Online Masters of Science in Nursing.