Why Trail Running Is Good for Mind, Body and Soul
If you’re already a keen runner then you may not need any further encouragement to keep up with your favourite sport. However, a lot of us find that making time to run is no small effort. It’s easy enough to start off and coast along on an initial burst of energy, but pretty soon the early mornings and aching muscles make a few more minutes in bed sound infinitely more rewarding. If you’re after a fresh injection of enthusiasm for running, then look no further than this page. Here we’ve collated all the best reason why trail running is good for you, mind, body and soul – and some of them may come as a surprise!
Along with the encouraging points laid out in this article, it can also be a good idea to utilise existing technology in your quest to conquer the trail. We have become so used to accessing the internet via PC, mobile, television, tablet or console for entertainment purposes, that we sometimes forget it’s also a great place to find tools to help us with our healthier goals. You’d know just where to go in order to watch an episode of The Queen’s Gambit or to play a few hands of online slots, but it’s also worth seeking out trail finder apps, trail running forums and fitness tracking gadgets to help you on your way to greatness. Then you can simply relax and reap the rewards of this fantastic form of exercise.
You may have heard talk of the elusive ‘runner’s high’ which many people spend their whole lives chasing. Unfortunately, it seems like the true ‘high’ that people seek happens relatively rarely, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy some of the positive feelings that running brings. When running, your body produces endorphins which are feel-good hormones. Enough of them can bring on euphoria, the peak of happiness, which is what people sometimes refer to as ‘runner’s high’. Alongside endorphins, your body also releases endocannabinoids which reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, instead helping you to feel calm and focused.
As if that wasn’t enough, running physically makes your brain grow, forming new nerve cells and blood vessels along the way. Not only can this make you think more creatively, but it can also improve your brain health with long-lasting positive effects. Running can increase the size of your hippocampus, which improves memory and recall and raises overall cognition levels. This, in turn, can help to prevent the onset of age-related degeneration and can even fend off conditions such as dementia.
Contrary to popular belief, running helps to improve joint health rather than eroding it. It can help to strengthen your bones, warding off conditions such as osteoporosis. Of course, it is also a great way to improve cardiovascular health, which then leads to an overall higher level of health throughout the body. It’s hailed by some as the all-in-one miracle cure! To get into some specifics, running can lower your cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and help your body to regulate its own insulin and glucose production. This is great news for diabetics and pre-diabetics, as well as for people who simply want to help their body stay in tip top condition so as to lessen the danger of health conditions affecting them later on in life.
If you are in a position where you want or need to lose some weight in a healthy, consistent way, then running is a fantastic activity to add to your exercise plan. Not only will it help you to lose some weight without putting your body under unnecessary strain, but you will find a hobby that can last a lifetime. And that lifetime could be considerably increased in length.
It may not be the first thing that occurs to you when thinking about running, but it is known to be good for the soul, as well as your mind and body. Trail running in particular gives you a chance to connect with nature, breathe in the scents of the forest and the fields, hear the birdsong and feel the earth beneath your feet. It’s also the perfect opportunity to carve out some essential alone time, or even space for personal meditation and reflection. It has been suggested that running allows you to access gratitude more readily, helps you to feel humble, and even increases your capacity for kindness and patience. Alongside all of this, as running is so often a solitary activity, it’s the perfect opportunity to foster a sense of personal achievement. There is nobody to compete with except yourself (unless you’re running a race!), so feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty are slowly replaced by feelings of self-love, strength and confidence.