Top health benefits of trail running

Dr Andrew Murray reminds us why we run

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The following is a excerpt from the latest issue of Trail Running - out in shops on May 10

1 Reduces chance of early death
I thought I’d start with the one that makes my patients really sit up and listen. Although you are a bit more likely to get blisters and athlete’s foot, runners have a 30% reduction in the risk of early death. Reports from the NHS in Scotland and the Chief Medical Officers of the UK reveal that running 75 minutes a week gives you that level of protection from The Grim Reaper.

2 Boosts your mood
Science has caught up with common sense. The evidence is consistent and growing that happy hormones are released by running, and that exercise in green space is even better than running in the gym. In fact, increasingly doctors are ‘prescribing’ exercise for low mood because it can easily be as effective as any tablet for mild to moderate depression.

3  Lowers your stress levels
Bad day at work? Kids winding you up? Worrying about bills? Going for a run in Nature’s Gym is a powerful angst-buster, and can wind down the stress levels by a good few levels. Many of the alternatives (raiding the cookie jar or drinking alcohol) just make you feel guilty the next day.

4  Helps boost your immune system
If you have a fever, are vomiting or are seriously unwell, then training is not for you that day, but on a day-to-day basis a sensible amount of running makes it far less likely you’ll get coughs, colds, the flu and other bugs – particularly if you get some decent sleep, and plenty of fresh fruit and veg on board, too.

 Get the June/July issue of Trail Running for more great advice - out May 10

Get the June/July issue of Trail Running for more great advice - out May 10

5 Improves the quality of your sleep
This shows that exercise can get you into a virtuous cycle. Your sleep improves with running, which improves your immune system and reduces stress. As long as you don’t train in the last hour before bed, exercise helps you get a great kip and saves you counting sheep.