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We all know that running is good for us. It improves the way we feel and look. Our hearts get stronger, our minds get clearer, and it’s great for weight management. However, their benefits go far beyond the obvious.
If you haven’t discovered the magic of trail running, 2021 might be the best year to start. According to Mia Goslett, Brand Manager at Saucony, sales of trail running shoes have increased dramatically over the past year.
“Running has generally grown in popularity with the closure of gyms. We also see road runners switching to trails more than ever, ”she says.
Numerous studies have shown that running increases your lifespan
A 2018 meta-analysis of research on running and longevity found that runners at follow-up had a 25 to 30% lower overall mortality rate than non-runners. It came to the conclusion: “Any amount of running, even once a week, is better than no running.”
The organizer of Fedhealth Magalies Monster MTB and Platinum Trail Run shares further reasons why one should try trail running in 2021:
Get away from the crowds
Because of the pandemic, we have all spent less time exercising indoors and this has resulted in many of us preferring to exercise outside than in the gym or studio. Fortunately, given the temperate climate in South Africa, it is possible to work up a sweat in the great outdoors all year round.
Trail running is a great option to get you off the beaten path, away from busy roads, traffic, exhaust fumes, and other people.
It’s about the journey, not the result.
In contrast to road running, where most runners want to do a 5 km lap or a 21 km route, for example, trail running is not about the bottom line at all. It’s not about time constraints and being dictated by a device on your wrist.
It’s about getting from A to B in a way that takes you to beautiful places with incredible views, unspoiled nature and fresh air.
The writer Laura Miller particularly likes the variety of trail running: “The thrill of the descent, the burning of the incline, jumping over a root or crouching under a branch … this variety just makes time go by”.
Less injuries, more calories burned
Trail runners are less prone to repetitive injuries because the variety of terrain means you always change your pace and how your body and feet react to it. Over time, your balance will improve and your ankles will adjust and strengthen.
Mia also says that “trail running burns more calories than road racing and the joy of adventure in nature increases the runner’s high significantly”.
A surefire way to socialize
Laura enjoys how independent you can be when trail running, bringing your own refreshments and just having to rely on yourself and your team. “I find it a great way to connect with friends or family while we communicate with nature.”
Goslett commented, “It’s a social sport, but you can distance yourself socially while still among friends.”
All in all, it seems 2021 is a good time to get your tackies on, pack water and snacks, and hit the trails. Your health will thank you.