Middle-aged man jogging in gymHow often do you raise the incline when you run on the treadmill at the gym? How often do you seek out the flattest surface possible when running outside? It may be tough for you, as it is for many, to think about the ascension up a hill as you run, mainly due to the fact that running is hard enough! The truth remains, however, that the benefits of running uphill far outweigh the benefits of running on a perfectly horizontal surface.

Benefit of Running Uphill #1: This may be the most obvious, but you will absolutely annihilate calories when you raise the incline on your treadmill or run uphill. Why? Because it’s harder. Anytime you expend more energy you are going to burn more calories. If you aren’t experienced with running uphill, don’t pick the local Mt. Everest or add a 15% incline on the treadmill right off the bat. Gradually build your way up just as you would do when you begin a running routine. Start with a 2-3% incline or search for moderately sloped hills outside.

Benefit of Running Uphill #2: Your tolerance for strenuous runs and your overall stamina will see a big jump. Think of running uphill as a form of interval training. When you run uphill, you inevitably have to run downhill, so you are going to have easier moments followed by tougher ones. This is good for your aerobic capacity. When you choose runs on flatter surfaces, you will notice an exponentially greater advancement in your endurance.

HillBenefit of Running Uphill #3: Your legs are going to get stronger. If running uphill is tougher than funning flat, you’re going to build leg muscle at a faster rate which equates to more speed. Running uphill is a great way to add speed and train for an upcoming season, race, or to simple get in better shape.

Benefit of Running Uphill #4: It’s safer. Studies are clear and find running uphill reduces the trauma on the knees and overall leg. Your shins will thank you, too, as uphill running can really strengthen the anterior tibialis muscles and help prevent shin splints.

Plenty of benefits exist for running uphill. If you’re going to spend time on a treadmill or running outside, why not get the most out of your efforts? Because you are exerting so much more energy, not only will you get in shape quicker, your cardio workouts can be trimmed down (while still getting the extra benefit), leaving more time for resistance training – or hottub time!