September 12, 2017

6 Benefits of Trail Running

Author: Diem Gray

By Motion Physical Therapist: Dr. Michelle Steege PT, DPT

For anyone that may be looking to try a new type of cardiovascular exercise, is tired of your usual running routes, or simply want to improve speed, strength, and stability—try trail running!

6 Benefits:

  1. A great way to add variety to your running routine
  2. Varying terrain (uneven ground, hills, changes in direction) will test your stability, strength, and stamina—making you faster on paved trails!
  3. If running in a wooded area, this can decrease your exposure to some elements such as wind and heat
  4. Fresh Air—you don’t have to worry about breathing car exhaust in the woods!
  5. Being in nature not only provides great scenery for running but can also be a wonderful stress reliever and provide a mental break from busy city life
  6. Running on trails decreases the impact force during landing when compared to asphalt and concrete.

Points to Consider:

  • Because uneven trails require increased stability, a certain amount of balance is required:
    • Adding single leg strengthening and balance exercises to your strength training routine can be beneficial to improve stability on uneven terrain
  • Trail running shoes differ from road shoes because of the terrain:
    • Greater tread for improved traction
    • Heavier than road shoes to protect the foot on rugged terrain
  • You likely will not be able to maintain the same pace and duration that you would on the road due to varying conditions

Trail Running in/near the Twin Cities:

  • Hyland Lake Park Reserve – Bloomington
  • Battle Creek Park – St. Paul
  • Lebanon Hills – Eagan
  • Afton State Park – Hastings
  • Theodore Wirth Park – Minneapolis
  • Minnesota River Bottoms – Bloomington

What’s your favorite trail to run? Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #motionrun! 

About Dr. Michelle Steege, PT, DPT:

Michelle is passionate about the profession of physical therapy, which allows her to help people return to the activities they love. Her experience in a hospital-based

Dr. Michelle Steege, PT, DPT

Dr. Michelle Steege, PT, DPT

outpatient orthopedic setting has given her the opportunity to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions and sports injuries. Michelle began her orthopedic residency at Motion in 2017, further advancing her knowledge in the world of physical therapy. She also has training in instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) and running analysis.

Michelle earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in exercise science. She then attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas where she earned her doctorate in physical therapy.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys being outdoors—running, biking, hiking, kayaking, and spending time at the cabin in northern Wisconsin.