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What are the Benefits of Running Hills?

With the weather changing for the better, it’s easier to spend additional time working out outdoors. For many people, this means running hills. While it may not sound like something that could benefit you, here are some reasons to consider adding it to your regimen.

Improved cardiovascular fitness

Running hills requires more effort than running on flat terrain, as your body has to work harder to lift you up the incline. This extra effort leads to an increase in your heart rate and lung capacity, ultimately improving your cardiovascular fitness.

Increased muscle strength and endurance

Running hills engages muscles in your legs, core, and even upper body that may not be activated as much during flat terrain running. As you run uphill, your calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes all have to work harder to propel you forward. Over time, this increased effort can lead to greater muscle strength and endurance.

Reduced risk of injury

By engaging more muscles and varying your stride and foot strike as you run up and down hills, you can reduce the risk of overuse injuries that can occur with repetitive motions on flat terrain.

While these are among the top benefits of running hills, you’re likely to realize there are others as you get started. Give it a try and see where you end up!

Jennifer Ferdinand, owner of Serendipity Wellness Studio in Burke, VA, has been practicing massage therapy and esthetics since 2006. She is nationally certified through NCBTMB, and licensed in Virginia for both Massage Therapy and Esthetics.

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