Welcome spring ... That season where the temperature is perfect, the sun shines and you feel that winter is finally leaving!
These fragments of happiness are indicated 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 want to because the sun shines longer now and it seems that the day will last longer. The goal is to use your environment and be inspired by what you have 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 much or more varied than those you can do in your trusted gym, you can also choose between going on a hiking route, taking a bike, going swimming, running, or going to a park / mountain / beach to do your exercise routine.
If the sport fluctuates in your life at the moment and you have not yet 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 sport and some ideas for outdoor sports routines that can serve as a sports guide to do during the months of good weather.
Training outdoors has benefits that affect well-being, self-esteem and motivation. Training about 30 minutes outdoors a day is enough to begin to see favorable changes in our physical and mental health, because among the most tangible and immediate results, we observe an increase in energy levels, greater vitality, and a decrease in the anxiety and irascibility of everyday life. 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 sport for physical health, and the psychological benefits of sport:
We find benefits of sport for physical health in:
Practicing sports outdoors has a great advantage, especially now that good weather and sunny days are approaching, and it is precisely that: sunlight gives us a large dose of Vitamin D, which provides great benefits on the health of our bones, muscles and on the function of metabolism. Also, exposure to the sun 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 cells and help fight disease. Always remember to protect yourself from the sun since ultraviolet radiation can be harmful, especially at peak times.
People who train outdoors rather than indoors have been shown to 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 return to its basal state faster than if it is done in covered areas.
When we practice sports, running or cycling more specifically, outdoors, our muscles and tendons work in a more dynamic and complete way, since during the trips we find changes in direction, in the shape of the terrain and real unevenness.
Due to the uneven terrain, the resistance to air and wind, and the actual temperature of the environment, the energy expenditure made by our body during exercise increases. In addition, the energy we invest in moving forward during the race is usually much greater than when we run on a treadmill, or pedal on an exercise bike.
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 being invaded by negative thoughts.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and studies (Kotzias, 2005) estimate that indoor pollution can be more than twice as high 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 the pollution inside these types of spaces to really high levels compared to the outside.
Biophilia is the feeling of connection with nature and with other forms of life. Humans are believed to have an innate affinity for nature, as well as an intrinsic and emotional connection to 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:
Long-term exposure to green spaces can also improve mental health and brain function, as well as increase longevity.
Going to the gym or a covered center, depending on what hours of the day, can create stress. Finding yourself in a space full of people, feeling heat and embarrassment even before starting to train is not the best way to maintain a positive mentality when practicing sports, 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.
When we train outside the home, in the open 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 stimulate the brain, keep you more awake and speed up your movements and decisions.
Training in green spaces can have effects on our mood and on our self-esteem within five minutes of starting to practice it. We return to the feeling of freedom, well-being and self-esteem that this practice carried out in open places provides us. Training in the gym can sometimes also undermine or lower our self-esteem if we think that there are more looks in a smaller space, and you are one of those who values your privacy when training.
Creating a routine and making it a habit is not always easy when we talk about training. The enjoyment that can be felt practicing outdoor sports can promote our adherence to physical exercise. Several studies show that you tend to exercise outdoors for longer than in gyms or at home.
Endocrine markers related to stress such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol, drop after being in contact with 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 outdoor environments, help improve the motivation of athletes and give added value to the practice, making it more important to continue practicing it.
Benefits of extreme sports:
We are now going to talk about another type of sport; the extreme sports. This versatile practice has gradually become one of the most common ways of spending time, enjoying 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:
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 remain calm and focused during stressful situations.
Sometimes fear paralyzes us and blocks us, we do not respond to any stimulus because we are too busy feeling fear. By practicing an extreme sport that blockage dissipates, we learn to manage it. Although it never completely goes away, there is always that trace of respect or impression that makes the practice unique and special.
When we reach a goal or overcome a challenge, our mind quickly fixes on the next one. We aspire to increasingly risky and challenging goals. We challenge ourselves and gain a greater understanding of our physical abilities and skills.
Facing our fears and defeating them is one of the consequences of practicing these sports; The adrenaline levels that are unleashed within us are so high that even when we have done them more times we still feel nervous in the stomach. 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.
EXERCISE IN A PARK
If you live in a big city, without a beach or mountain nearby, go to your closest 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 serve as a guide in your training. You can start light running for 30 to 60 minutes and when you're done, continue with strength training. You can do four sets of the following exercises, do the repetitions that best suit your ability. You can start with 10 repetitions in the first series and increase the number as your series progress:
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 either of these two disciplines to reconnect, disconnect and strengthen the body without applying too much impact to the body.
RUN IN THE BEACH
If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, you love the coast and good weather, you are probably considering moving your workouts to the beach. Running on the beach has very positive points, such as that you do a more intense work, since the terrain, being sand, offers more resistance than the solid ground. 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 ocean waves will keep your mind and body relaxed. Also, 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 the sand is uneven terrain and stepping on a slope without shoes could cause a bad twist, the lack of support and rebound can cause problems. Another tip that you can try to apply in your races is that you choose wet sand, that is, near the sea shore. The terrain will be more compact and firm and you will avoid the muscular overloads that derive from running on soft sand.
MOUNTAIN PLANS: CYCLING
There are many positive feelings when you ride a bicycle and it is not easy to describe it in words to someone who has not experienced it in the first person. In addition, cycling is a fun, safe and very beneficial practice for health. If you are also passionate about cycling, we suggest some routes that you may not yet know:
This mountain range offers countless alternatives. If you like road cycling, they await you from the legendary ports of the Tour de France to the attractive Andorran ports.If, on the contrary, you prefer mountain biking, we recommend you to travel the Trans-Pyrenees, a route that crosses the mountain range from the Mediterranean to the Cantabrian. The routes of Ordesa, Monte Perdido or Aneto are more affordable stages, in which you can also fill your retinas with indelible images.
Ports such as the Lakes of Covadonga, El Naranco and Angliru are closely connected with the history of cycling. This community is the perfect spot to explore new routes and discover surprising places surrounded by nature.
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 that pedaling through the land of Salvador Dalí and enjoying his legacy on pedals means.
Playing 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 equipped, call your friends and enjoy the entrance of spring doing sports outside!