Get fitter in fresh air

RIZWAN SAYED
Published Jan 26, 2014, 7:47 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 8:05 am IST
Ditch the gym and let go of your stress under the open sky. try a few simple outdoor workouts to stay healthy.

Outdoor training is very popular in Western countries and provides the necessary environmental stimulus for every keen exerciser. Training outdoor provides us open-air visual feedback, biofeedback, multi-planar movement and an overall dynamic terrain for a challenging workout. Open-environment workouts like bootcamps, kettlebell, TRX training, pilates, yoga and tai chi give the performing group a sense of well-being and improve the overall experience.

Benefits of outdoor

 

Exercise :

  • Exposure to Vitamin D : Nowadays, people tend to spend a lot of time indoors, within an artificial air-conditioned atmosphere. Therefore, most individuals suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D. Exercising outdoors, especially during winters, is thus an ideal way to soak in Vitamin D through sunlight.
  • Reduces stress and enhances mood : Exercise is a good stress-buster and working out in the open is a pleasurable experience. A well-planned, sustained physical activity spurts endorphin release and helps in enhancing your mood.
  • Visual & biofeedback : Visual and biofeedback is a great motivators for someone exercising outside as they abet the requisite progression in the workout.
  • Lower risk of being overweight :Being overweight is the direct result of a sedentary lifestyle. Getting stuck behind a desk or in front of a computer screen for hours often paralyses body movement, stiffens the muscles and tissues, hinders blood circulation and stunts one’s growth. Improving or increasing your physical activity will obviously help reduce your weight and bring about a change in your body composition.

Healing

Some studies have suggested that fresh air reinvigorates the body when one feels sluggish. Exercising in the open air would have the same effect of having a cup of coffee.

Precautions

Some of the cons of outdoor exercises could be the unpredictable weather, vehicular traffic, pollution and limitation of the landscape. An exerciser can take a few safety measures on that front:

  • Inform family members about your schedule : If you are a runner or a cyclist, it is always better to inform your family members about your route. Do not use routes and trails that are deserted, likewise, take into consideration the probable traffic snarls on the road at the time of your training.
  • Safety wear: Footwear is important for a regular jogger. Moreover, it should be able to handle all kind of terrains. Reflectors on jackets or T-shirts is another must-have for runners and cyclists. This makes the exerciser visible to a vehicle from a distance.
  • Hydration: Drink lots of water to remain hydrated while exercising. And this is no different while performing exercises outdoors too. Make sure to carry water to hydrate yourself at frequent intervals.

The allure of the gym will always be there. However, a gym is a controlled environment. On that ground, an outdoor environment will trigger a different stress response to an exerciser that can’t be replicated on a cardio machine.

Running

A person will stride differently when running outdoors. One is also able to run downhill which is not possible on a treadmill. This possibly stresses the muscles differently. The energy expenditure while running outside is more in comparison to indoor running. For a marathon runner, running outdoors would be an ideal training protocol. The body tends to react differently to the atmosphere and would have to adapt to wind, heat and cold.

Cycling

A cyclist will experience the wind drag and it will lead to more energy expenditure. Studies have suggested that walkers prefer to walk outside because they find it more pleasurable. 

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