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The Benefits of Running on an Incline

5 Reasons to Love the Incline

I know that I should embrace the incline while I'm running, but most of the time the thought of running hills and trudging along an angled treadmill fills me with unease. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize I should be loving the hills — and why you should, too. Here's why:

  1. You'll burn more calories. There's a pretty big difference between a totally flat treadmill and one with a five percent incline — almost 100 calories in difference. Running uphill can burn major calories, and anything helps, so the next time you're on a run, try upping the incline on your treadmill a little bit, or finding a not-quite-flat route.
  2. They help prevent shin splints. Running on flat or downhill ground can make you more susceptible to painful shin splints by putting pressure on your shinbones, but running uphill can alleviate that stress (just make sure you're careful when you're on your way down!)

More benefits of hill running after the break.

  1. You'll increase your endurance. Spend a few weeks hill training and the next time you go on your regular route, you'll be amazed at how easy it's become. Start by gradually increasing the inclines on your run up every few weeks until even the steepest hills are no match for your swift feet.
  2. You'll increase your speed. Not only is running uphill great for your stamina, but it's also great for building leg muscles, which helps with your speed. Try this tip: run uphill at full intensity, 10 seconds at a time, to help build leg strength.
  3. Downhill does it, too. Downhill running engages your lower abs and works your quads. Keep the right form with these tips for running correctly downhill.

Ready to start? Read these tips on how to cross train and gradually tackle those hills during your runs. And make sure you run correctly to prevent injury by following these tips for proper uphill running form.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
Susi-May Susi-May 4 years
After running downhill for 5 miles in the Hood to Coast, my body was craving some uphill action. And when I got, it felt great to work the back of my legs.
OCgirl OCgirl 4 years
What is the recommended incline for running uphill? I usually alternate between 1.5-3% during a 20-30 minute jog on the treadmill averaging about 5.5 mi/hr.
Jenny-Sugar Jenny-Sugar 4 years
I used to avoid hills, but now I look for more in my outdoor runs. I love how exhilarating it feels to reach the top, and I also love the crazy thigh burn I get from trudging up a huge hill, so I know I've really worked it.
bjeanne18 bjeanne18 4 years
Hills are killer!!! But very true - you shouldn't avoid them, they build different muscles in your legs :)
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