The Covid pandemic has thrown all our plans and schedules out of the window, especially our daily fitness regime. At the onset, staying cooped in the depths of our bed felt like the only way to comfort ourselves. Everything was shut and work from home was applied. Now you have the whole day to meet a deadline rather than the usual 9 to 5 so all you see is time melting in front of your eyes. To make matters worse, by the time the day is over, you realise you haven’t moved an inch!
We know gyms are shut and working out at home doesn’t quite cut it for many of us. Be it the lack of space, you favourite workout buddy’s company or just an invigorating environment. Sometimes it is harder because we have our family around us all the time. And so we continue to procrastinate our yoga practice or strength workout to the next day and then the next day and so on. Clearly, fitness has taken a backseat at a time when it is needed the most. Apart from being wary of the constant physical threat to our lives, the mental stress of coping with life are piling up too. Adopting the right changes in our lifestyle is the need of the hour and fitness tops that list. Not only does it keep our immune system in check and running, it also does a lot of inner cleansing. It frees up space in our otherwise clogged up brain. That’s why you feel so ‘fresh’ after a good workout! And when you head outside to freshen your mind, the experience becomes all the more beneficial. Getting fit can be a lot more fun in the outdoors. It makes so much more sense in these testing times to ditch those germy gyms and head outdoors where it’s safer since we can be more in control of our environment and who we interact with. Explore your options with this list of 7 sports and who knows, maybe you will never have to hit the gym again to keep yourself fit:
Running : The best full body exercise that one can incorporate in their fitness regime is running. It’s strength lies in the simplicity of the movement which coordinates the entire body. Since it is primarily a cardiovascular exertion, it is the best thing you can do for your heart. It can be done in so many places and requires only a pair of shoes to get going.
Cycling : Cycling is a fantastic low impact exercise. It is easy to stick to, works for people of all ages and is a great environment friendly alternative for transport. The best part is the visual experience as you get to see the changing views, especially if you are cycling in the mountains. It helps build a better sense of balance and coordination; two super important faculties for humans. Rajesh Kalra, Founder, Pedal Yatri gives his two cents on cycling, “I cycle everyday to the Aravallis as I live close by and it’s the best part of my day. But where you cycle is less important than getting out and putting your foot on the pedal”. In today’s time when we need to be fit and we need to save our environment, adopting cycling helps us achieve both.
Trail running : The ultimate workout for endurance lovers who like to scale up the difficulty level, trail running is the ultimate outdoor sport. Running in a dynamic environment teaches your body to adapt to varying terrain and weather. It requires dexterity and agility in the lower body as you don’t know where your next step will be. Each time you run, there is an alertness of mind required which overtime makes you mentally strong at surviving anything that isn’t entirely in your control. It improves your resilience, gut feeling and faith. Sports Psychologist Hemant Singh Beniwal says, “Trail running is a sport that teaches us how to condition our minds even when our bodies give up and that’s where it’s power lies”.
Walking : Walking may seem like a really simple thing but to perform that as a function, our bodies work really hard. When done as an exercise, walking is directly linked to longevity in life. When we take a walk outdoors, it is not just the physical act that we perform. Our sense of sight, sound and smell also become proactively engaged. An immersive walk leaves us feeling the environment we are in and improving the neurological functioning of our brain.
Hiking : Walking and trail running meet halfway in a beautiful mountain setting to become hiking. One of the most popular outdoor sports, hiking is what our ancestors did traditionally to travel across mountain passes and into valleys. You are sure to get the exact same feeling if you go on a hike to the tallest hill in your surroundings. Try and look for spots close to you where you can go every weekend. You will see the benefits when you hike regularly. Added weight makes this a more strenuous sport and helps build more strength based endurance. Let us not forget the views which makes the effort worthwhile. Prerna Dangi, An avid Trekker says- “Every weekend, I am out to explore a short trek and overtime that has helped me build this amazing foundation of stamina without any other workout.”
Skipping : All you need is a little space outside under the sun to get hopping on the balls of your feet. Skipping is a favourite exercise that can be done in a park or your roof or anywhere outside. You could even be confined to your locality because it is a containment zone and still do it given the small amount of space it requires. Even though it appears to be easy, you’d be surprised how hard it is to keep going at it. There are many variations you can try with double skips, reverse and cross skips to amp it up and keep things exciting. If you don’t like leaving your workouts for the evening, try skipping in the day time. You don’t even have to go too far away from your workplace. The short but power packed burn is bound to keep you on your toes through the day and perk your productivity.
Stair Running : Stairs are everywhere; you cannot escape them and you cannot ignore them either. If done as a workout, stair running helps you build explosive force in your leg muscles generating strength and power. It is one of the easiest ways to build speed as well. It makes for a much needed break at every corporate office building. Vamini Sethi, Mumbai based Corporate Leader who is also a cyclist and a mountaineer shares, “After a whole day of screen time, working out on the stairs and a few sets of skips with rope helps me get the much needed boost for the next day”
It’s time to move out and find the fun in outdoor movement. Along with sticking to the daily fitness routine, you can check some day out programs options near and give your family outing a unique twist. See you outside!