“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold makes a great point here. How can we ever achieve our goals if we remain complacent in routine and what those around us continue to do.
Change, adaptation, and innovation are the key to success.
We are told to stay fit, stay active, and stay healthy inevitably driving hoards of us to stuff inside of gyms, seeking a better, more physically fit version of ourselves.
We don’t realize what possibilities pass by our car windows on our commute to the gym everyday.
What we are missing is the opportunity to make a change and more efficiently and much more enjoyably stay healthy and continue to improve ourselves.
Here is a short list of some physical benefits to improve both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness once you take your workout outside the gym and seek an adventure outdoors.
Most of us run the hamster wheel of life everyday to stay afloat.
So why jump on another hamster wheel to nowhere everyday at the gym?
Do you think Pheidippides, the Greek messenger whose legend created the modern marathon, trained on a track everyday to prepare to run 26.2 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians?
True athletes seek adventure and an experience to both challenge and harden them to keep improving.
Sure, air conditioning is great and treadmills are safe; for the most part.
There is nothing quite like running for 30 minutes, watching a Judge Judy episode without sound, and feeling accomplished.
But what are we achieving by maintaining this routine?
We only miss out on the unmanufactured and unprocessed training ground that Mother Nature herself has laid out for us.
Running on a trail to the river or hiking a path to the top of a mountain provides unmatched physical benefits that no gym equipment can provide.
When running on flat and stable ground, our leg and ankle muscles are only pushed so far and therefore are never forced to adapt and grow.
Muscles become lazy without constant challenge and change.
Important stabilizing muscles, responsible for changing direction, are not put to work and become weak.
By running and hiking and un-even terrain, our legs are forced to access every muscle in our legs and this extra effort is rewarded stronger and more stable legs and core.
BURN CALORIES CLEANER AND FASTER
This extra little bit of effort is also rewarded with some extra excess calories burned away.
Calories are the quantified amount of energy our bodies take in and absorb obviously through eating.
In a very broad and boiled down explanation,
- excess calories = weight gain
- negative calories = weight loss
This extra boost of exertions that comes from training outdoors on unpredictable terrain and without the luxury of a climate-controlled atmosphere gives our body a needed challenge.
The extra effort needed from our muscles or even simply the extra effort by our bodies to maintain body temperature could be the difference between regretting the extra cheese on that cheeseburger or eating an extra serving size of Oreos or two.
(The serving size for Oreo cookies is 2 cookies and if you can only eat two cookies you’re not a human and don’t need to read this guide.)
Now to use the ever powerful and effective scare tactic to get my point across.
There are few places that are bigger breeding grounds for bacteria than our local gyms.
Large gatherings of gym goers sharing a confined area gives birth to bacteria that rivals ebola.
MRSA, a mega-dangerous super bug resistant to most antibiotics thrives in gyms across America.
If you manage to avoid MRSA, you will still likely fall victim to similarly frightening conditions such as athlete’s foot, boil, ringworm, and even herpes.
This guide is here to keep you safe.
Not only will we be far from these deadly bugs but the outdoors provides cleaner, less polluted air.
Some studies show that air indoors is up to five times more polluted that the fresh air waiting for us outdoors.
The sun is our friend, not our foe.
Don’t look directly at it to extend a quick thank you but make sure you pay respect to our big yellow friend in the sky.
Because without the sun we’d be nothing. (deep)
Strong bones are vital to a strong body.
By staying confined indoors we are robbing our bodies of the earth’s most vital source of life.
The sun provides not only a nice farmer’s tan but the much overlooked and unappreciated Vitamin D.
We are bombarded with messages pushing the importance of calcium and only through such consumption may we maintain healthy, strong bones.
However, without a sufficient dose of Vitamin D, any amount of calcium consumption would be futile.
Our bodies need Vitamin D to absorb the calcium necessary to keep our bones healthy.
Don’t hide from the sun. He is only relentlessly providing us with light, energy and strong bones.
Who doesn’t want to be happier?
To quote a constant cliche, do what makes you happy.
Just getting outside gives us the opportunity to have fun with our work out and scientifically the more fun we can inject into our lives the happier we are bound to be.
Adding variety and adventure to our workouts keep us interested and having fun while taking care of ourselves.
Go kayaking instead of working on your lats on the pull up bar.
Hike a mountain instead of climbing the Stairmaster.
When we are too old to bench press or squat we won’t remember the time we spent at the gym.
We will certainly remember the adventures we went on, and we will thank our young selves for stepping outside the norm.
Staying healthy, trying something new, getting outside, and having an adventure will certainly make training outside of the gym worthwhile.
By: Jameson Haas