"Those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often
than those working out indoors."
That was one of the recent research results summarized by Gretchen Reynolds in "The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
" for The Well at the New York Times on February 21. I read that piece and was just thinking who exactly who is surprised by that?? Are you at all surprised?
Certainly there are times that indoor training makes sense - when we are crunched for time, if there are safety or logistics issues, or if you seek a specific type of trainer (RIDES!) or treadmill type workout. But it's the outside stuff that keeps me coming back for more. A long bike ride or a tough run in challenging weather conditions leaves me feeling tough and capable. I enjoy the natural adversary found in miles of varied terrain, and from submitting to whatever Mother Nature has in store. This winter has offered plenty of challenge to me and to many of my Endurance Films Racing Teammates.
When I ride or run outside and have the opportunity, it inevitably ends up longer than what is planned. Yesterday's 42 mile ride? 47. Who wants to turn around exactly at mile 21 when there could be something interesting over the crest of the next hill? (Disclaimer: I have a sense now of when/which workouts and by how much I can "go over" without violating the intent of the coach-planned workout. That "sense" was developed for me by getting called out for it the first few years.
Time goes by quickly outside. We are away from the things that mark time through a beep or chime or flash. Thoughts drift and the brain is left to creative tasks or to problems in need of a solution. The sun, fresh air, and freedom are a reminder of our own smallness out in the world. It's the unknown, the adventure, and the unpredictability that makes outdoor training so exciting and rewarding
When you are outside, you have the chance to wrangle cows
or run through town dressed as an elf
or pedal your way to an Expo
in the next town or swim in a city harbor
or race rabbits
or see a gorgeous sunrise.
Accept the challenge of training outside and reap the many rewards!
Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Dr. Seuss)
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go....