7 good reasons for a forest run and how to get started right
Means: Experience nature.
You should definitely try it out.
Increases endurance, reduces stress and more.
You can find out exactly what speaks for a forest run here.
One thing in advance: The article also makes sense for you if you are not (yet) running, but “only” walking or walking.
You can learn your lessons from it even if you don’t have a forest near you.
It’s just about being outdoors.
This can also be on a river or lake, in meadows and fields, in large parks and anywhere else where you feel comfortable and are connected to nature.
But what are the specific reasons for a forest run?
1. You increase your stamina, improve your health and lower your risk of death
Not wrongly listed at number one.
Please point out!Who wouldn’t want to be more productive, healthier and live longer?
Do you see someone raise their hand? No?
Neither do I.
It should be clear by now that running is good for you. Nevertheless, here are the results of a meta-analysis (several study results – 35 in total – were combined) and a study on the subject of mortality and running:
- Running helps you lose weight
- Running helps you to rebuild your body, in other words: to reduce fat
- Running helps you save heartbeats by lowering your resting heart rate
- Running lowers your triglyceride levels (blood lipids)
- Running increases your maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) and thus your endurance performance
- Running improves the balance between the “good” HDL cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood
- Running increases your life expectancy
- Running lowers your general risk of death by 30% and when it comes to cardiovascular diseases by 45%
In order to be able to claim these positive effects for you, just 2 hours of running per week at medium intensity are enough.
Very cool right?
Now you can rightly say: I have these positive effects not only during a forest run, but also in the city.
The forest run is not an egg-laying woolly milk pig either.
But I can reassure you: The next points will be more and more forest-specific.
2. You relax
In most cases, we still feel at home in nature.
Scientific studies show us that just staying in nature can have positive effects.Our nervous system relaxes in this for ours Body still familiar surroundings. Even if our heads sometimes disagree.
Can because the data situation is not yet completely clear.
A large-scale meta-analysis from 2014 discovered positive effects in at least 25 studies, mixed effects in 19 studies and insignificant (i.e. not scientifically verifiable) results in 9 studies.
So the trend is clear. Exercise in the fresh air is healthy. The specific advantages of a forest run are:
- The blood pressure drops
- Your heart rate drops (in relation to the same exertion elsewhere)
- The heart rate variability (a value that provides information about the health and performance of your heart) improves
- Your adrenaline and cortisol levels (two of our “stress hormones”) return to normal
- Your immune system is improving
Use the power of nature!
3. You protect your joints
The harder the ground you walk on, the stronger the forces act on your joints.
The relatively soft forest floor therefore protects your joints.
Especially in contrast to the hard asphalt on streets and sidewalks.
The shoe retailer you trust can certainly recommend the right shoe for you. I myself wear an all-round shoe that is suitable for soft and hard surfaces.
4. You are weatherproof
You may know that: Bad weather is one of your top excuses when it comes to regular exercise.
The forest will help you tone down this excuse.
- Raindrops don’t get to the ground as quickly in a dense forest. So you won’t get as wet as in open terrain.
- The forest weakens the wind and therefore does not let you despair if you have a headwind again.
- In winter it is a little warmer in the forest, in summer a little cooler – and above all more shady – than anywhere else.
Become master of the weather yourself and make the forest your ally!
5. You can discover something
The forest is alive.
If you walk carefully through the forest, you can discover a lot of exciting things and something new every day.
The forest is home to many plants and animals. If you’re lucky, you can watch them while running. Most of the time, deer and other forest dwellers are gone, but every now and then you can look each other in the eye. An uplifting feeling.
But not only flora and fauna have a lot to offer, but also the landscape itself: Small streams that meander through the forest, rolling hills, waterfalls, and much more to discover.
6. You breathe better air
Have you ever heard that a forest was closed due to a smog alarm or fine dust pollution?
The main reason for this is that the trees constantly release fresh oxygen and filter the air.
As a result, for example, compared to the city and forest, nitrogen monoxide pollution is around 95% lower, nitrogen dioxide pollution is 70% lower and the ozone values that protect against ultraviolet solar radiation are twice as high (here you can find information from the German weather service) .
A treat for our lungs. And our whole body.
So: Take a deep breath the next time you’re out in the woods.
7. You get into the flow more easily
Have you ever been in the flow while exercising?
You don’t know what that should be?
To put it simply, you will find the ideal balance between being overwhelmed (fear) and boredom during the forest run.It’s just a great feeling. But let me explain it in more detail.
In order to be able to do that, you have to give yourself fully to your forest run. So no distractions like music in your ears or heart rate monitors and timers that affect you.
Just run at a speed that is demanding for you, but not overwhelming.
If you could keep running and don’t even notice how quickly time flies, then you have reached the flow state.
But you can’t plan that. Don’t even try. Just run out and listen to your body.
If you want to know more about flow, check out Wikipedia.
What you should pay attention to when running in the forest
A forest run is not a pony farm.
It has many advantages. But you should also know about possible dangers and prepare yourself for them:
There are seldom signposts in the forest. It is best to take your cell phone with you so that you can call someone in an emergency (this is also important if you should injure yourself). In addition, it doesn’t hurt to stick to broader paths, to choose well-known woods and routes to start with, and possibly to bring a second person with you.
- Uneven ground
The soft texture of the forest floor has advantages. The frequent bumps in the ground can also be a disadvantage if you knuckle yourself. Running at a slow to moderate pace will help you stay in control.
Watching animals in the wild is great. But the fun quickly stops with potentially dangerous animals such as bears, wolves or boars. Therefore, check beforehand how high the probability is of encountering such animals in your forest and keep a safe distance from them.
I recommend an all-round shoe so that you can use it not only in the forest but also on the street can. Your trusted shoe retailer can certainly give you good advice.
Unfortunately there have been accidents far too often in which joggers, soldiers or others moving in the forest People were mistaken for animals by hunters. That is why I wear clothes that are as conspicuous as possible in my runs in the woods, in colors that are rather unusual for animals (blue, yellow, etc.).
You can also meet cyclists on many forest trails. Then when you have your headphones on and listening to music, they can really scare you. Hence my tip: Enjoy the background noise of the forest, hear the bikers coming and do without music in your ears while running in the forest.
- Pollen count
As good as the air in the forest is. If you are allergic to pollen, you should find out in advance which trees are predominantly found in the forest near you. So that you don’t experience a nasty surprise with watery eyes and an itchy nose.
- Too strong wind or storm
The forest protects you from the wind. If it’s too strong, you should also do a workout at home to be on the safe side. So that no branch falls on your head.
A tick vaccination is essential for a forest run. Most of the time, the animals are more likely to be found in the tall grass – in any case, they won’t throw themselves from trees at you – but better safe than sorry.
For me, the advantages clearly outweigh the advantages. Especially when you can assess the potential dangers.
How to get started with your forest run
If for one reason or another you still have respect for a forest run, take this route:
- Find a running partner
- Choose a piece of forest in your familiar area
- Start running in time before dark
- Slow down and enjoy the outdoors (no speed runs or HIIT units in the forest)
- Stay on wide forest paths
- Wear eye-catching clothes
- Take your cell phone with you as emergency insurance
This way you rule out the greatest risks from the start and you can really enjoy your forest run.
If you’re not fit enough to run: No problem either.
Just follow my tips on jogging for beginners and you will soon celebrate your first successes.
Finally, I would like to give you a little impression of what awaits you in the forest. Start film.