Running Trails in Sarasota, Florida
Regular exercise is an important part of healthy living. One great way to get more exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership is running. And if you live in Sarasota County, you are in one of the best areas for running in Florida, with running trails for all experience levels.
Why Run? The Health
Benefits of Running
Running can provide numerous health benefits, including:
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Running makes your muscles need more oxygen and nutrients. To supply the extra demand, your heart pumps faster and your lungs adapt to take in more oxygen. Over time, your heart and lungs become stronger, enabling your heart to pump more blood and your lungs to breathe more deeply.
Full Body Workout
Running strengthens your legs, core, and upper body muscles. When your body is supported with enough calories and protein, it can help develop your muscles.
Increased Bone Density
Running puts stress on your bones, which stimulates them to grow and strengthen their structure. This process leads to stronger bones over time, and also raises the production of bone-building hormones in your body, making your body create more bone cells. As a result, your bones become stronger and less likely to fracture.
Improved Key Health Markers
Running regularly improves several key markers of health, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower resting heart rate
- Improved blood sugar regulation
- Lower triglycerides
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduced body fat percentage
Prolonged exercise of any kind lowers your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for stress. Running can also serve as a meditative activity that gives you time to unclutter your thoughts, breathe in some fresh air and soak in some vitamin D.
Running is one of the most efficient forms of exercise when it comes to burning calories. If you are trying to reduce body fat or lose weight, running can be a very effective way to create the calorie deficit you need to burn fat.
This also makes healthy eating extra important if you are starting running to build or maintain muscle growth, as you will need to increase your calorie intake healthily. Supporting your fitness regime with nutritionally balanced meals can be a time-consuming process, however. Fitness meal prep services such as Suncoast Meal Prep can make it simpler and easier to understand and manage your intake of calories, protein, and other nutrients throughout the day.
Sarasota has been recognized as a Runner Friendly Community by the Road Runners Club of America
The Runner Friendly Community designation marks out areas that provide excellent infrastructure and support for runners and running. As a Runner Friendly Community, Sarasota makes it easy and safe for people to enjoy running trails in a wide range of locations throughout the county.
Earning this designation involves a community meeting a range of criteria that make an area runner-friendly, including:
- An interconnected network of pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, trails, and paths, that enables a runner to run 3 to 10 miles without leaving the network
- Running tracks that are well-lit and available for public use for as many hours as possible
- Additional infrastructure such as water fountains, bathrooms, and other facilities are placed along trails and pedestrian networks
- Affordable local running clubs and group running events throughout the year.
- Local businesses that support the runner community by hosting running club events or acting as a great spot for runners to meet before or after a run
The Best Running
Trails In Sarasota
Hammock Loop Trail
This is a great short trail for beginners, with the option to take advantage of exercise stations around the circuit if those looking for a more strenuous workout. The loop has minimal elevation changes and a smooth asphalt surface throughout. It takes runners through a beautiful natural environment and offers restrooms and easy parking access for visitors.
Nathan Benderson Park Loop
This easy 6 km running route takes you around a lake along a smooth and flat trail. There are plenty of opportunities to alter your route with a detour through more shaded trails or to get more variety from regular visits.
Celery Fields Loop
Celery Fields offers a brief but challenging running trail that takes you through a mild elevation change over rough terrain. It is also a great spot to enjoy a diverse range of Florida’s birdlife, and an excellent view of the surrounding area from the top. With little shade and no water fountains though, make sure to come prepared when you visit on a hot day.
Upper Myakka Lake Loop
This is a lengthy and moderately challenging loop with some elevation changes over rough terrain. The trail offers plenty of shade and is great for runners looking for a spot to run for longer distances.
Myakka Cross Trail Loop
This route is a lengthy but relatively easy loop through shady wooded terrain throughout the trail. This makes it a great place for long distance running in the hottest parts of the year. It is also a great place to run if you are looking for solitude, as you are less likely to meet other people than other parts of the Myakke River State Park.