The Kung Fu class that I teach on a Wednesday evening in Haywards Heath has recently moved from the confines of the hall to the great outdoors! Personal training clients of mine generally train outdoors too and appreciate getting away from a gym environment.
So with summer (almost) here and lots of outdoor fun and games going on, I thought a brief blog on the benefits of outdoors training would be relevant. Some benefits are obvious, some less so.
The first clear benefit is the abundance of fresh air. The vast majority of people I know spend far too much time indoors, surrounding yourself with nature getting and out of stuffy office environments (or off your sofa!) is invigorating. Exercise taken outdoors is said to cause an increase in post-exercise endorphins, which are why we feel so good after finishing training outside.
Training outdoors is often cooler, if you’re lucky you have the benefits of a nice breeze! Gyms are terrible places to be with no air. Staying cooler and more hydrated will add benefits to your workout.
Outside of the training hall or gym, there is so much more space to play around with! Uneven surfaces add a new element to help improve balance and positioning, extra variety is definitely not to be under estimated and always crucial in a workout to see any progress. In Haywards Heath we have a great hill to sprint up and a play area to go to where we can do dips, pull ups, box jumps and all manner of exercises that aren’t as easy to do in the training hall.
I know it sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s shining upon us but when the clouds to disappear and the sun comes out, we get a nice shot of vitamin D whilst outside training in the park (improving immune system, bone growth and even your sex drive! (Clearly a sign of good health).
For martial artists the more natural outdoors environment (especially having a different surface underfoot) makes self defence scenarios and sparring more realistic. Students in the first outdoors class last night were commenting on how different the surface felt and how they had to adjust slightly. It’s important not to just get used to working on techniques and sparring on a nice flat wooden floor.
And last but certainly not least, training outdoors gives you some added mental toughness. Being mentally tough is so important in training (as in life – we aren’t all training for a good pair of abs, are we?). Getting to an outdoors training session or class when it’s cold, dark, raining, takes a certain level of mental fortitude and if you’re aware of this, you can carry it over and improve other areas of your life.
So there we have just a few reasons to get outdoors, get some training done and feel the benefits!