Benefits of Uphill Running
Running has many health benefits that extend beyond the realm of physical fitness. Running helps to prevent disease, improve your health, stimulate weight loss, relieve stress, and lift your spirits. And apparently, when you incorporate hill work in your runs -- whether running outside or using the incline button on a treadmill, you will realize even more benefits.
Improved leg strength. Although your hamstrings certainly work when you run uphill, your quadriceps and calves work more and, therefore, reap more of the strengthening results. In general, the stronger your calve muscles, the easier it is for you to run since they bare most of the burden of running and really keep you going.
Increases energy. Your body needs more energy to run uphill than it does on a flat surface. When you run uphill, you are working against gravity, moving forward on an incline and naturally using your body weight as resistance. Your leg muscles have to work harder to drive your movement, so you are using more energy. When you use more energy, you are burning more calories. The steeper the hill is that you choose to run, the more effort you will exert, the more calories you will burn.
Builds strength. By running inclines, either on a hill outdoors or on a treadmill indoors, you engage in a of resistance training that builds up the muscles in your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Hill running strengthens those areas more than running on flat ground. You'll also strengthen your hip flexors and Achilles tendons.
Increases speed. The muscles you'll use to run up hills are the same ones used for sprinting, so the strength you build will naturally improve your speed.
Strengthen your upper body. Because uphill running forces you to drive your arms harder than you do when running on flat ground, you'll improve your upper body strength.