What has drawn you to trail running?
Among the common responses we hear are:
“It’s easier on the body.”
“I get bored running on the road.”
“I don’t feel safe running on the road.”
“More of my friends are trail running, so I thought I would try it.”
And then there’s the connection with nature.
More and more, I think there is this notion that being immersed in nature is moving from desire to need. There’s no shortage of evidence to support this theory. This weekend, I came across an article in the Globe and Mail suggesting that people – especially those in urban settings – are turning to apps on their phones that play nature sounds as a means of trying to connect with nature (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/article-cut-off-from-nature-city-dwellers-are-turning-to-the-next-best-thing/) . There is even a 10-hour YouTube video of a thunderstorm that has more than 38 million plays!
Referencing a number of research studies, the author reported that natural sounds trigger activity of the parasympathetic nervous system that provides a “rest and digest” response in our bodies and minds, a much healthier physiological response than the chronic and insidious “fight or flight” state, which can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression.
I also started listening (not finished it yet) a Rich Roll podcast with guest Chris Hauth (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiKLpAtjZng). Hauth believes that many endurance and ultra athletes take up these sports and activities to establish a stronger connection with nature (so, I guess it’s not about the free t-shirt and beer glass). This reconnection – something we’re hardwired for – ultimately allows for a greater sense of meaning in our lives.
So, if you’re looking for another reason to spend more time on the trails, how about that: decreased stress and anxiety and increased meaning in your life.
That, to me, is time well spent.