Outdoor training beats the gym hands down – but have you considered these lesser-known benefits?
- Build mental resilience
Training in the gym or in a sports hall gives you a predictable environmental experience every time. And whilst this has its benefits, it doesn’t do much for building mental fortitude. Training outside means you’ll have to cope with wind, weather, temperatures and more.
- Get out of your comfort zone
Training outdoors gives you almost unlimited opportunities to push your mind and body beyond boundaries. Whether that’s to do with terrain and incline, or distance and pace, the great outdoors is a vast playground ripe for adventure.
- Build more muscle
Outdoor training can be a great way to build and tone muscle, especially in your lower body, back and shoulders. Target muscle gain by adding hills and inclines to your hikes, and carrying external load by using a weighted ruck pack or weighted vest.
- Vitamin D and sunshine
Sunshine isn’t guaranteed, but when the sun does show its face you’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” has a number of benefits – most importantly helping you build and maintain bone density.
- Burn extra calories
Do your cardio workouts outside and you’re likely to burn more calories than if you did an equivalent form of exercise indoors. Different terrain underfoot, changes in incline, and even wind resistance can lead to more energy output, and you’re likely to keep going for longer when you’re outside.
- Challenge your body
The unpredictable and ever-changing nature of the great outdoors will challenge your muscles and connective tissue in a way indoor training can never match. And you can make it as hard or as easy as you want.
- Help look after nature
People who train outside usually respect the outdoors, so why not use your slower outdoor sessions to pick up litter, push back brambles, or move fallen branches off paths? Training outdoors means you’ll have eyes on any little changes to your regular routes.
- Learn about your environment
Some people rarely get outside at all, but training outdoors gives you an amazing opportunity to enrich your knowledge about plants, animals, birds and trees. Think of outdoor training as a chance to get a second education about the world around you.
- Meet like-minded people
Of course you can meet like-minded folk when you train in a gym or an indoor sports facility. But the people you meet on outdoor adventures are likely to share your mindset and your outlook. That’s why runners, cyclists and horse-riders have their own system of waves and head-nods that are somehow passed down through the generations. Fans of outdoor training understand what it’s all about.
- Get away from it all
And it goes without saying that the great outdoors offers the opportunity to unplug, switch off, and get away from the modern world. Head into the hills, go off road, or get on your paddleboard to relax in the sights and sounds of nature….no traffic noise, no phone notifications…just your body and the elements.
What’s your favourite way to train outdoors? Add a weighted vest, ruck pack, or rucking plate carrier to your outdoor workout collection and level up your adventures with heavy-duty, built-to-last kit that works as hard as you do. Check out the Force Fitness collection here.