September 06, 2021 3 min read
Trail running is a fun and refreshing sport where the surrounding nature is motivating and invites you to move. Running in the silence of nature is both a versatile exercise for the body and a relaxing moment for the mind. Even short forest walks offer experiences in nature as well as detachment from everyday life.
In this article, our TestBee and experienced trail runner Veera reveals why everyone should head for the trails.
Nature is open 24/7 in all seasons and times - and costs nothing. All you need is a proper equipment and a trail. Many of us have access to nature trails almost from our front door. There are good trail networks in the forest near residential areas, where the feeling of trail running can be safely reached without the risk of getting lost.
In trail running, skills develop rapidly and confidence in running increases as the runs progress. Everyone runs according to their own fitness and energy levels of the day. Experiencing nature is an important part of the trail run, and while running in the woods, you can sometimes walk, stop to admire the scenery or just take a deep breath.
The trails take us into the fresh open air around nature, where time has stopped and the noise of the traffic can no longer be heard. Instead of speed and kilometers, we devour nature and live in the moment.
When in nature, our senses become sharpened when everyday stimuli are gone. You can hear the birds singing as different shades of green color the view in front of us. You can feel the wind on your skin and the shapes of the terrain under your feet. You get to breath clean air and smell the scents of the forest as well as the changing seasons of nature. You can also find peace in nature, as the trails are rarely crowded.
Trail running is a mentally and physically versatile exercise. Being in nature and in the forest has been proven to have many positive effects. Nature calms and improves concentration skills. The feelings of well-being and alertness increase, and the feeling of anxiety and anger decreases.
Trail running is an endurance exercise in which the heart muscle and circulatory system are strengthening. The whole body gets a holistic movement when the varying terrain and the technically challenging surface force changes in our speed and stride length. Each running step is different and activates small muscles in order to support the larger ones. The soft running ground is also joint-friendly.
The surrounding nature catches the trail runner's attention as the landscapes change, and the changing terrain forces us to focus on the next step. The profile of the route, the seasons and the shape of the terrain give character to the run. Landscapes change as the trails challenge our balance and coordination, as one step adapts to the running surface. Even when running at a calm pace, you get to feel excitement of the speed as the scenery swiftly changes in front of your eyes.
Nature acts as a great mover - the more technical the surface, the more changes in running rhythm will occur and the muscles in both ankle and abdominals and core will get to work. Even without noticing it, often during the run you get to do squats as you run under a fallen tree, raise your knees, or jump high as obstacles suddenly appear in front of you.
Sometimes an adventurous mind is also required, because it's quite typical that shoes get wet, mud splashes everywhere or you stumble on the roots of a tree. The level of difficulty and challenges vary according to the differences in altitude, which makes trail running an interesting and effective workout - and each run is a little different.
Writer and photos: Weekendbee's TestBee Veera
Get inspired by Veera's sustainable lifestyle, sports and outdoor adventures and follow her Instagram account: @veeramalmivaara.
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