Many people love running, I have a friend who operates a Swiss running site called laufkalender.ch and he gets thousands of people every day who look up where they can run through the summer. But just as many people associate running with being too hard on their knees and joints. Not with uphill running!
My Favorite Running is Uphill Running
I had a knee injury when I was younger and I initially thought that running was too hard on my knee. And because I favored one leg, it was also hard on my other joints and body alignment. That’s when a friend suggested we go running uphill.
The benefits of Uphill Running
Easy on your knees and joints
Because each step (or most) in uphill Running are higher than the last, the impact on your joints is considerably less than running on the flat and much less than running downhill.
Alternative to swimming.
Swimming is also really easy on the joints, but hill running exercises different muscles and is a great alternative.
Great to get started in running
Because uphill walking is almost as strenuous as up hill running or jogging, you can improve your fitness then kick into jogging then finally running. The key is to keep aiming to run. Just keep going, keep pushing yourself. Worst case, walk for a bit then jog again. I recommend you run the same stretch because then you remember how far you got last time and this is an extra incentive to keep going that little but further. In about 2 weeks, provided you can walk whichever hill you choose, you will be able to run it too.
A little stretching then on to a walk is a good warm-up initially. Then move into the jog/run.
You probably have what you need (unless you don’t live near a hill). Running uphill is easier on shoes as well as joints, but good shoes are well worth the investment. I found when I changed from some basic sneakers to better running shoes after a few months that my feet were much better supported and felt lighter with good shoes. This is especially good on stony paths or rough ground.
Good for your heart and bum
Any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, but uphill jogging is also especially good for your bum. Those muscles get a special workout and toning.
A good social activity
Because of my knee, I always walk down the hills I run up. This is a great time to chat with whoever your jogging partner is. Somehow, there is always something to talk about after a nice steep jog.
Perfect fitness match
As with normal running, you can match your fitness to how hard you push yourself. For this reason, hill running is really good to run with a partner because the distances are less, so even with different levels of fitness, you will end closer together. I cn even get a good workout with my daughter and stay together.
Experience second wind in 1-3 months if training 1-2 times per week.
Once you push over a certain threshold of fitness and a certain level of difficulty of mountain running it is quite possible to experience second wind quickly with uphill running. I haven’t found this as easy with other sports. I’m not sure why, but it’s like flying, and everyone should experience it once in their lives. It’s like flying. I thought I would fly right off the mountain when I got it. Awesome!
Running on sand is also good for all the same reasons. I’ve never done it, but running stairs is probably a good alternative to hill/mountain running if there are no mountains around.
My wife has just started using an iphone app to track and encourage her running. There are lots out there, this one is called couch to 5K and is just the thing if your jogging partner is not motivating enough.
Basic fitness is not as hard to achieve as you expect, and really helps in all areas of life, so aim to spend at least 2 * 60 minutes in some kind of aerobic exercise and you will notice the benefits. Go uphill running with a friend.