Do you feel stuck in a rut lately? Or perhaps you’ve noticed your health has gone downhill? Maybe you’re thinking about ways to spend more quality time with your partner, children, family or friends. No matter where you are in life and what your goals are, with summer almost here it’s worth testing out some new outdoor sports. Doing this is a great way to kick your fitness up a notch. However, do trial sports in a safe, strategic way. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Trail running refers to running that takes place off-road, on an unpaved surface such as forests, fields, dirt tracks, mountainous areas, coastal paths, etc. Often exercisers must combine running with slower hiking when steep gradients are involved. This may afford fantastic views in the end, though.
If you want to start running but don’t like the idea of pounding the pavement or having to deal with noisy distractions in an urban environment, getting into bush runs might be ideal. For those who are comfortable with running in the city, taking your exercise to the bush can help you increase difficulty. Choose the route that suits your fitness and ability level. If you want to start with short, easier tracks go for it, but if it’s a challenge you’re after, test yourself on trails with loose shale, slippery roots, tricky steps, and other obstacles.
A popular, growing outdoor sport today is rock climbing. Build yourself up to gradually increase the difficulty of the mountains you climb, while reducing the time it takes to scale the rock face. Climbing is a wonderful all-over workout for the body. It not only gets your heart rate up (quickly!) but also tests your upper and lower body muscles. Use your back, arms, and shoulders to pull yourself up, then engage your core, quads, and calves to stabilize yourself as you climb. You’ll work a variety of muscle groups in the one workout.
Another benefit of rock climbing is that it will enable you to increase your flexibility and range of motion. Since you’re moving in lots of different directions as you climb, your body has to learn to adapt to moving in all three planes of motion.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
For people who love being out on the water, stand up paddle boarding, or SUP, as it’s called for short, is usually a dream. This exercise, which involves standing on top of a large board and using a paddle to move through the water, can be enjoyed in a variety of locations. Try it out on lakes, rivers, flat oceans, canals, inland waterways, and even surf zones.
The sport has gained popularity partly because people of many ages and abilities can do it. If you can’t surf, waterski, wakeboard, raft, etc. anymore due to deteriorated knees, back, or other body parts, SUP might be just the thing for you. It’s still a workout, though. It requires core strength and balance, and you use arms and shoulders to paddle, plus leg and glute muscles to stand up the entire time. Once you’ve mastered traditional SUP, consider attending a yoga SUP class, where you’ll complete traditional yoga movements on your paddleboard.
Apart from the above options, there are many other outdoor sports to try. Consider mountain biking, caving, horseback riding, sailing, zipline and rope adventure courses, surfing, outdoor obstacle courses, geocaching, and white water rafting.
Tips to Stay Safe
Any time you try a new sport, be careful not to push yourself too far, too fast. Don’t go past your limits just to prove a point to yourself or others. Remember that in many cases when you’re exercising in the great outdoors, medical attention won’t be nearby. It’s wise to go on adventures with at least one other person so that if you get into trouble, you’re not alone. If you have a guide, listen to and follow their instructions to stay safe, too.
It’s also necessary to take the proper equipment with you. To stay hydrated, use practical water bottles and hydration packs that will keep liquids from getting too warm. Check out some of these popular, top-quality Yeti coolers and accessories as an example.
Take protein-rich snacks with you, too, to keep your energy levels up (e.g., trail mix, protein balls, and fruit); and carry safety gear with you as needed. Pack a basic first-aid kit, too. In addition, wear the right clothing for the activity, so you don’t overheat or get too cold, and pay attention to the weather so you don’t get stuck out in the elements unnecessarily.
Starting a new sport is an excellent way to improve fitness, bond with the people in your life (or make new friends), reduce stress levels, enjoy the great outdoors, and challenge yourself to learn something new. Why not get started today?