Whether you are running to improve your cardiovascular health or running to lose weight, you need to run a minimum of thirty minutes to get moderate results. Let's look for inspiration across Canada's vast landscape: trail running.
Obviously, more time spent running equals more benefits. A lot of runners, especially beginners, find running on the streets or on treadmills, very tedious. The solution is trail running. There are many interesting and scenic trails within most Canadian cities. Just about every neighbourhood has green space and many of these are joined by trails.
The benefits of trail running extend beyond making your run more interesting. The more varied terrain also gives you a greater body by slowing down muscle fatigue and utilizing more muscle, all the while making you stronger and more agile. Other key benefits include:
- Enjoyment of local wildlife;
- Rubbing shoulders with other runners;
- Softer surface reduces pounding and risk of injury;
- Eliminating stops at every stop sign;
- Avoiding dangerous drivers and car fumes;
- Staying cooler in the summer due to shaded areas; and,
- Shelter from wind and rain during the colder seasons.
One negative aspect of trail running is the unevenness of the trails – increasing the risk of ankle sprains (and winter running on trails is a even more tricky). Also consider your safety: run with a training partner at all times.
TRAIL RUNNING IN YOUR CITY
Most cities have quite a variety of trails that are suitable for running. In trying to locate trails, a general rule is to look for waterways. Since flood plains cannot be developed for industrial or residential purposes, they are great for trails and they don't trespass on private property. These trails are usually a bit trickier to navigate but well worth the adventure. Check Trail Runner for more information about the best trails in your area.
If you fall in love with trail running as many before you have, autumn is cross country running season and there are usually a few races in city parks. Throughout the year there are trail races of all distances from easy to very difficult courses. Check My Next Race for more information about races in your area. •
Dr. John DeFinney is a bilingual chiropractor with a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and a Specialty in Sports Chiropractic. He graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in 1976. He is also one of the founding members of the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences and one of its first three Fellows.
Dr. DeFinney is currently involved in a variety of recreational sports and has won national titles as an age class runner setting a new Canadian record during the 2006 US Indoor Championships in Boston. He has lectured at the undergraduate and post graduate level in sports injuries and published articles on the topic of running. 'The Running Chiropractor has joined the Trigenics Institute, serving as its research consultant with specific interests in running, sport injuries, and rehabilitation.
Dr. John DeFinney
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