The Many Benefits of Training Outdoors

By on July 14, 2018

Health and fitness fads come and go, but the ones that tend to stick around are often those that take us back to our roots: the ones that re-acquaint us with the untamed, chaotic nature of training in the wild.

Benefits of training outdoors

It turns out that taking three or four scheduled one-hour intervals a week to perform the same 8 movement patterns just doesn’t ‘undo’ a lifetime of sitting. We have become domesticated.

Our brains and bodies crave movement. Not repetitive set ‘exercises’, but adaptive, unrefined, ever-changing movement. This kind of movement limbers our fascia, increases range of motion, and builds tiny supportive muscles that so many overlook. True strength is being able to adapt on the fly and handle any situation, it is being strong at awkward angles when unprepared.

Training in the wild

Performing cardio and calisthenics outdoors challenges your body in entirely different ways from training in the gym. No two movements are identical: each foot strike hits different gradients and materials at slightly different angles. Each tree branch and rock is a completely different shape, weight, and size from the last.

The brain is developing new movement patterns on the fly, growing new neuronal connections, flooding with dopamine and brain derived neurotrophic factor.

And then there are the many other benefits that come from being immersed in nature.

Wild swimming benefits

Wild swimming uses countless muscle groups in synergy, while triggering a huge sympathetic response that increases the heartrate and sharpens focus.

Trail running engages the peripheral vision, making fuller use of your multisensory array to navigate at high speeds through unpredictable routes.

Discovering novel sights and sounds wakes up our brains and floods us with a sense of awe.

Sense of awe

Sunlight sets your biological clock, increases testosterone, and produces vitamin D.

Changing temperatures challenge our thermal regulation.

Climbing strengthens the grip.

And natural views and backdrops help us to instil a sense of calm focus, recognized today as ‘flow’.

Meditation outdoors

I could go on.

I know it’s not practical for many of us to do so all the time. But when you can? Train outdoors.

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

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