Why skipping the pavement and heading out to the trails might be the cure you were looking for to fix your workout blues
Cardiovascular activity is one of the most ideal forms of exercise that you can take on to help with weight loss. This includes exercises like walking, cycling, running and swimming, in addition to the types of cardio classes you can find in your local gym, like kick boxing and dance. Cardio exercise helps with weight loss by getting your heart rate up, thereby helping you to burn more calories and to sweat off the pounds.
But, if running were easy, then everyone would do it. When you are embarking on a medical weight loss plan, you need to ease yourself into a workout routine. Signing up for a 5k is a great start, but it’ll take time to train your body to be up to the task of running long distances. In addition to putting pressure on your heart and lungs, cardio exercises can put a lot of pressure on your joints, and this can mean pain and injury if you aren’t careful. Running is an especially common culprit for causing injuries, particularly for new runners.
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One way that you can reduce the pressure on your body is to stay away from the pavement and head to a local trail. Running on the sidewalk might be convenient, but the constant pounding of your feet on the concrete is not good for your knees, heels, or ankles. When you head out to a local trail, you can reduce the impact on your joints significantly by running on grass or dirt. Of course, if you are going to try trail running in the Columbus and Central Ohio area, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
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Here are a few tips for getting started with trail running in Ohio:
- Get the right gear: Regular running shoes might not quite have the traction and support you need, but hiking shoes will likely be too clunky. If you truly want to turn trail running into a consistent workout, you’ll need to invest in some shoes made to handle quick movement on difficult terrain, while waterproof kicks can also make a big difference. Most running and outdoor goods stores will offer shoes specifically made for trail running. You should also get a few good pairs of moisture-wicking (i.e. non-cotton) socks and any clothing you’ll need to stay warm and dry.
- Know the trail: Not every trail is designed for running, and not every trail will be right for your experience level. Be sure you know the challenges of the path you’ve chosen and are fully prepared to handle them. If you have any doubts about a trail’s suitability, try walking it first to pick out twists, turns and potential hazards. While running, be sure to keep your head up and your eyes peeled to stay wary of roots, rocks, inclines and other things that may trip you up on the trail ahead.
- Know your limits: As with any workout, you need to stay well hydrated and fueled. Bring water along with you, as well as healthy, trail-ready snacks that can provide much-needed energy if you plan to be out for a while. You should also remember that there’s no shame in slowing your pace—in fact, it will likely be a necessity when facing steep inclines and rough terrain.
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If you are looking for a place to get started, you might want to check out a trail map site like Trail Link. There are several trails that are worth exploring along the river in Columbus.