5 ways trail running can boost mental well being

During lockdown, more and more people have taken up running and discovered the huge benefits of getting out on the trails as they seek to find open, green spaces

Being able to lace up our trainers and head out for a run has been a blessing for many of us, especially during the coronavirus lockdown. Small wonder that this has led to a huge increase in the number of people who have taken up running with Sports Direct reporting a 218% increase in the sale of running shoes.

And it’s not just road running but trail running too with more people heading for the hills and benefiting from the specific benefits of trail running.

Building confidence 

“Belief can act as emotional alchemy that turns discouragement into confidence, and given time, that can turn the impossible into the ordinary.” – David Hoche, Trail Runner Mag

When trail running, you’re tackling different terrains, whether it’s climbing an incline a hill, or a mountain. that gives you a clear tangible goal and sense of achievement. And when you achieve your goals you build your self-confidence.

Reduces anxiety & negative stress

Running is a great way to relax and help process emotions, negative or positive. How many times have you found yourself bursting into tears during a run and coming back always feeling better?

Running releases endorphins and serotonin which help to soothe anxiety and help us to feel calmer. Moving your body is a healthy way of coping with tough times, especially when you’re surrounded by nature. 

Increased oxygen to the brain

When we exercise, we breathe faster and take in more oxygen. If you’re in the woodlands and forests, you get more oxygen so it’s a more positive place to run for your health.

“Visiting forest environments can help lower blood pressure and pulse rate, reduce cortisol levels and suppress sympathetic nervous activity”Forestry England. 

Forestry England have designed an e-booklet to help inspire your next forest visit. And there’s no need to worry about navigation as they have launched marked running trails in 18 forests up and down the UK designed for beginners and seasoned runners.

Increased productivity

Are you feeling sluggish and unmotivated? Running gets your heart pumping and your blood moving, which has an impact on your energy levels. After a run, you’re undoubtedly more awake and ready to tackle what the day has in store for you. 

Exposure to the ‘sunshine vitamin’

Taking yourself outside for a run on a sunny day helps your body to produce vitamin D. Research shows that vitamin D can play an important role in regulating mood and generally improve your wellbeing. Studies show that as a minimum, we only need around 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight per day to feel the benefit.

“Running is so unique…” ”It’s one of the most inclusive sports in the world, and it’s just a source of positive energy that makes everybody’s day better.” – Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks Running.

Get strong for trail running, with the GRTW online Hit for Ultra Running course.