Welcome spring. That season where the temperature is perfect, the sun shines and you feel that winter is finally gone!
These fragments of happiness are the ones to motivate us to practice outdoor sports. It is often said that a habit is something we do every day, and that the rest are exceptions.
In spring our energy changes, we can train with friends, go for a run or do workouts that do not require equipment, and we can do it every day if we set our mind to it because the sun shines now longer and it seems that the day will last longer. The goal is to use your environment and be inspired by what is around you.
Although, of course, it is not just about going out to do some sport, since you wear it, take advantage of your training! The outdoor training options are as varied or more varied than what you can do in your trusted gym, you can also choose between going on a hiking route, taking the bike, going swimming, running, or going to a park/ mountain / beach to do your exercise routine.
If sport fluctuates in your life at the moment and you still haven't included it in your list of habits, spring may be the ideal season to take the leap.
In this post we offer you all the benefits of physical activity and sports and some ideas for outdoor sports routines that can serve as a sports guide to do during the months of good weather.
DISCOVER ADVANTAGES AND BENEFITS THAT YOU ONLY GET FROM OUTDOOR SPORTS!
Training outdoors has benefits that affect well-being, self-esteem and motivation. Training about 30 minutes outdoors a day is already enough to begin to see favorable changes in our physical and mental health, since among the most tangible and immediate results, we observe an increase in energy levels, greater vitality, and a decrease in anxiety and irascibility from day to day. If we take a closer look at them, we can delve deeper into the benefits of sport on quality of life.
First of all, we are going to differentiate between the benefits of doing sports for physical health, and the psychological benefits of sport:
We find benefits of sport for physical health in:
- The effect of the Sun
Practicing sports in the open air has a great advantage, especially now that good weather and sunny days are approaching, and it is precisely that: sunlight provides us with a large dose of Vitamin D, which provides great benefits over the health of our bones, muscles and on the function of metabolism. Also, sun exposure during the day can help us sleep better at night and improve immune function. Also, when we train outdoors, we breathe pure oxygen, which helps us fuel our cells and help fight disease. Always remember to protect yourself from the sun as ultraviolet radiation can be harmful, especially during peak hours.
- The cellular level
It has been shown that people who train outdoors instead of indoors have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that is related to stress. Instead, they have higher levels of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. We add that training in green and/or open spaces helps blood pressure to return to its baseline state faster than if it is done indoors.
When we practice sports, running or cycling more specifically, outdoors, our muscles and tendons work more dynamically and completely, since during the journeys we find changes of direction, in the shape of the terrain and real unevenness.
- Calorie expenditure
Due to uneven terrain, air and wind resistance, and the actual temperature of the environment, the energy expenditure that our body makes during exercise increases. In addition, the energy that we invest in moving forward during the race is usually much greater than when we run on a treadmill, or pedal on a stationary bike.
- Reducing fatigue
The environment is pleasant and offers us stimuli that serve as a distraction. This reduces our focus on the physiological feeling of tiredness and our mind is invaded by negative thoughts.
- The least pollution
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and studies (Kotzias, 2005) estimate that pollution in closed environments can be more than two times higher compared to outdoor environments. Some conditions in gyms, such as the number of people practicing sports, the machines or the lighting and ventilation systems, can increase pollution inside this type of space to really high levels compared to outside.
- The biophilia effect
Biophilia is the feeling of connection with nature and with other forms of life. It is believed that humans have an innate affinity for nature, as well as an intrinsic and emotional connection with other animals. It is very likely that these innate biophilic needs of the human being are satisfied more easily by training outdoors than by doing the same training within four walls.
Benefits of sport for mental health:
Prolonged exposure to green spaces may also improve mental health and brain function, as well as increase longevity.
- Less anxiety
Going to the gym or an indoor center, depending on what time of day, can be overwhelming. Finding yourself in front of a space full of people, feeling hot and muggy even before you start training is not the best way to maintain a positive mentality when practicing sport, which is designed to generate the opposite effect on us: happiness and feeling of freedom. For this reason, training outdoors, with few people around, the environment you have chosen surrounding you and all the space you need at your disposal, will give you a greater sense of tranquility and security.
- About the brain
When we train outside the home, in the fresh air, we are faced with a changing environment, it is not static and it is not under our control. We have to adapt to it. This factor helps to stimulate the brain, to keep you more awake and to speed up your movements and decisions.
- About self-esteem
Training in green spaces can have effects on our state of mind and our self-esteem five minutes after starting to practice it. We return to the feeling of freedom, well-being and self-esteem that this practice carried out in open places gives us. Training in the gym can also sometimes undermine or lower our self-esteem if we think that there are more eyes in a smaller space, and you are one of those who values your privacy when training.
- About adherence
Creating a routine and turning it into a habit is not always easy when it comes to training. The enjoyment that can be felt by practicing sports in the open air can encourage our adherence to physical exercise. Several studies show that people tend to exercise outdoors for longer than in gyms or at home.
- About stress
Stress-related endocrine markers such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol drop after being in nature. The level of endorphins generated by doing sports is already high, but if we add green spaces, and the company of family or friends, these can multiply. Social relationships, such as those that we can incorporate more easily in large open-air environments, help improve athletes' motivation and give added value to practice, making it more important to continue practicing it.
Benefits of extreme sports:
Now we are going to talk about another type of sport; the extreme sports. This versatile practice has gradually become one of the most common ways to spend time, to enjoy the outdoors and adrenaline. These sports offer us intense, different and special experiences. Exposing our body to more efforts is precisely the reason why we will be more aware and careful when practicing extreme sports, which can bring us many benefits both in health and self-esteem, turning out to be therapeutic on many occasions. An extreme sport will allow you:
- Increase your ability to concentrate
When we face a challenge of these characteristics, we must learn to act in the face of danger. When we change the way we think in these situations and our mind clicks, we increase our ability to stay calm and focused during stressful situations.
- Manage fear better
Sometimes fear paralyzes us and blocks us, we don't respond to any stimulus because we are too busy feeling fear. Practicing an extreme sport, this blockage dissipates, we learn to manage it. Although it never goes away completely, there is always that loophole of respect or impression that makes the practice unique and special.
- Exceed your limits
When we reach a goal or overcome a challenge, our mind quickly fixes the next one. We aspire to increasingly risky and challenging goals. We challenge ourselves and gain a greater understanding of our physical skills and abilities.
- Enjoy the thrill of risk
Facing our fears and defeating them is one of the consequences of practicing these sports; the levels of adrenaline that are unleashed within us are so high that even when we have done them more times we still feel nervous in our stomachs. That feeling of risk is what makes us understand that through these sports we can experience emotions that are difficult to emulate in any other aspect of life.
IDEAS FOR OUTDOOR EXERCISE!
EXERCISE IN A PARK
If you live in a big city, with no beach or mountains nearby, go to your nearest park! If you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the proximity of the sea, or the tranquility of the heights surrounded by vegetation, don't think about it a lot, take your things and leave the house, see for yourself the benefits of doing sports abroad. We help you organize a simple circuit that will guide you in your training. You can start running lightly between 30 and 60 minutes and when you finish, continue with strength training. You can do four series of the following exercises, do the repetitions that best suit your ability. You can start with 10 repetitions in the first set and increase the number as your sets progress:
- Push-ups: Place your hands just below your shoulders, your hips and shoulders should be in consonance, they should move together, your shoulders, hips and feet should be in line, and your core, active
- Squats (squats): Separate your feet and place them between the hips and shoulders, and always facing the front. Lift your chest and activate your core. Keep your weight in your heels and make sure your knees are behind your toes.
- Alternate lunges: Bring one leg forward, bending the other knee until it touches the ground. The back leg should be kept straight. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
- Burpees: On your feet, take a big leap. Going down, get straight into a plank position and do a push-up with your arms. If it's still early for full pushup, do it with your knees on the ground.
In addition, yoga or pilates are ideal activities to start or finish if you cannot train at another time. You can meet friends and practice any of these two disciplines to reconnect, disconnect and strengthen the body without applying too much impact to the body.
RUNNING ON THE BEACH
If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, you adore the coast and good weather, it is likely that you are considering moving your training to the beach. Running on the beach has very positive points, such as that you do more intense work, since the terrain, being sandy, offers more resistance than the mainland. In addition, you improve your breathing thanks to the humidity of the sea and the low pressure, your body will receive a greater amount of oxygen. The relaxing power of the beach and the sound of the waves of the sea will keep your mind and body relaxed. In addition, breaking the routine and running through a new environment will always increase your motivation.
However, we recommend that you try to run with your running shoes on, since sand is uneven ground and stepping on an unevenness without shoes could cause a bad sprain, the lack of support and rebound can cause you issues. Another tip that you can try to apply in your races is to choose wet sand, that is, near the seashore. The terrain will be more compact and firm and you will avoid muscular overloads that derive from running on soft sand.
MOUNTAIN PLANS: CYCLING
There are many positive sensations that you feel when you ride a bicycle and it is not easy to describe it in words to someone who has not experienced it firsthand. In addition, cycling is fun, safe and very beneficial for health. If you are also passionate about cycling, we suggest some routes that you may not know yet:
This mountain range offers countless alternatives. If you like road cycling, the mythical ports of the Tour de France await you as well as the attractive Andorran ports. If, on the other hand, you prefer mountain biking, we recommend you travel the Trans-Pyrenees, a route that crosses the mountain range from the Mediterranean to the Cantabrian. The Ordesa, Monte Perdido or Aneto routes are more affordable stages, in which you can also fill your retinas with indelible images.
Ports such as the Covadonga, El Naranco and Angliru lakes are closely connected to the history of cycling. This community is the perfect spot to explore new routes and get to know amazing places in the middle of nature.
- Costa Brava
The province of Girona is home to a varied terrain, as the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees come together here. In addition to the cultural incentive of pedaling through the land of Salvador Dalí and enjoying his legacy on pedals.
Practicing sports outdoors is easy, fun and very beneficial! To the benefits of sport we add the positive impact of staying in green spaces, surrounded by nature and clean air, enjoying the sun's rays and, ultimately, the feeling of freedom.
Get dressed, call your friends and enjoy the beginning of spring doing sports outside!