This summer pick up a new hobby: running

Op-eds Opinions

As the mercury rises in Victoria for the summer, there is no better time to dust off those old sneakers in the closet and lace up for a run.

Running has been proven to have plenty of obvious physical health benefits. Popular running website Runner’s World (RW) outlines six of these benefits on how running improves your health.

In her RW article from 2016, writer Jennifer Van Allen asserts that running does improve your knees and other joints, contrary to the popular belief that running does damage instead: “It’s long been known that running increases bone mass, and even helps stem age-related bone loss,” she writes.

Boston University researcher David Felson sides with Van Allen in a National Public Radio interview. “When we look at people with knee arthritis, we don’t find much of a previous history of running, and when we look at runners and follow them over time, we don’t find that their risk of developing osteoarthritis is any more than expected.”

However, running does a lot more than just improve your physical abilities — it can significantly improve your mental well-being. In serious instances, it can even help people combat their mental illnesses as Zoe Margolis states in her article “Running saved my life.”

“At the start of this year, I was in the depths of the worst depression I have ever experienced,” writes Margolis for the Guardian, recollecting her mental pain. “My trainers had been gathering dust in my cupboard for some while. When I decided to pick them up again, it felt quite daunting, but the challenge of putting my shoes back on and getting out there seemed easier than facing my depression; running was an appealing distraction.”

Victoria is the perfect city for falling in love with running, and the local scenery will make you feel fortunate to live in this Pacific Northwest oasis. From lakeside trails to roads meandering throughout the urban forests or past the sea, there is undoubtedly a route in Victoria that meets all your running needs.

If you’re stuck on campus, and want a break from studying, the Alumni Chip trail is perfect for you. The  4-kilometre route circles around the UVic campus, staying mainly flat with only a few hilly sections.

However, if you want ocean views, then look no further than Beach Drive and Beacon Hill Park. Beach Drive is a flat road that runs parallel to the ocean, giving you breathtaking views of the Pacific. While Beacon Hill Park is, well, hillier, it’s full of trails that overlook the ocean as well, and it’s uniquely situated near downtown Victoria for post-run treats.

Fancying a lake view with the chance to dip into the water after your run? The 10-kilometres Elk/Beaver lake trail is your best bet. However, be warned that you will share the path with horses, that also take in the lake trail.

Or, desire a flat out and back gravel trail? Lochside is your answer.

This summer, you can feel the wind blow your hair back and mulch crunch below your feet as you take advantage of the many health benefits from running provides, indulging in the endless number of trails in Victoria.