Benefits of Running Uphill

Benefits of Running Uphill

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To incorporate hill work into your run when you are on a treadmill, adjust the button labeled "incline" or "grade."

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Running has many health benefits that extend beyond the realm of physical fitness. Running helps to prevent disease, improve your health, stimulate weight loss, relieve stress and lift your spirits. When you incorporate hill work in your runs, whether running outside or using the incline button on a treadmill, you will realize even more benefits.

Build Stronger Legs

The primary benefit of running uphill is improved leg strength. Although your hamstrings certainly work when you run uphill, your quadriceps and calves work more, and therefore reap more of the strengthening results. Your calves are responsible for flexing your ankles, and your ankles need to flex even more when running on an incline. The extra work done by your calves results in more calf strength.

Feel the Burn

Your body requires more energy to run uphill than it does on a flat surface. When you run uphill, you are working against gravity, propelling forward on an incline and naturally using your body weight as resistance. Your leg muscles have to work harder to drive your movement so you are using more energy. When you use more energy, you are burning more calories. The steeper the hill is that you choose to run, the more effort you will exert and the more calories you will burn.

Reduce Risk of Injury

Running against gravity will actually reduce the impact to your knees and minimize leg shock, making you less prone to injury. The majority of injuries from hill work result from running downhill. For this type of running you move with gravity and increase the impact on your joints and muscles.

Improve Overall Fitness Level

Running uphill requires you to breathe harder. Breathing harder will increase your lung capacity so you can get more oxygen to your muscles faster, which will help you to be a more efficient athlete. In addition to strengthened leg muscles from the more arduous effort required for uphill running, your arms will have to move more vigorously. People naturally coordinate upper- and lower-body movements during rhythmic tasks. Stronger and faster upper-limb movement results in stronger and faster lower-limb movement. You will be stronger and faster when you run on a flat surface because of training your arms to move with more force when running uphill.