Credit: Istockphoto

Istockphoto From Health magazine
Did you spend the summer on the treadmill, escaping the heat? Its time to get outside and off-road.

Trail running—with its uneven terrain—can increase your calorie burn up to 10%. And its generally gentler on your bones and joints than pavement. Follow these tips to make the switch safely and smoothly.

Plot your route
Find interactive trail maps at sites like,, or

Get the right gear
If you plan to go off-road a few times a month or more, invest in a pair of trail-running shoes, which have treads that provide extra traction and will keep you steady on loose dirt, rocks, etc. Look for a pair that fits snugly in the heel and has room in the toe to prevent blisters and bruised nails.

  • Next Page: How to run on trails [ pagebreak ]
  • Stay safe
  • Dont hit the trail without your cell phone, trail map, ID, and a running buddy. Let someone know when and where youre running. Leave a note in the car that outlines your planned course. And if youre a gadget junkie, wear a GPS watch to track your distance, speed, and route.

Run this way
Uneven terrain makes trails more demanding than treadmills, so gauge your run by your heart rate and breathing—not your pace. Keep your gaze 3 feet in front of you to stay balanced. On hills, slow down and shorten your stride on the way up, then lengthen your stride on the way down.

Get a leg up
To improve your agility, do this simple move once a day: Stand on one bare foot for 45 seconds, keeping your torso tall and hips square; repeat on each side four times.