Now that March is upon us and there is a little more light in the evenings many of us might look to get out of the gym and head toward the outdoors again for our run or walk. Hide the treadmill away for another few months (we hope) and get out to fill your lungs with fresh air. But be cautious hitting the open road is more taxing than running on a treadmill, and the roads are bumpier than we think.
Transition is key when working out in the open air, even people that are generally fit might do less over the winter months. When the weather changes and daylight creeps in many runners tend try to run too many miles too soon. If
you have been running 5 miles at the gym don’t increase (outdoor) mileage immediately according.
Training outdoors in natural light, changing scenery and varied terrain, tends to be more engaging and mentally stimulating than training indoors, said Gregory Chertok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine. "The mind is constantly seeking variety," Chertok said. "On a treadmill, flat is guaranteed but outdoors you have to watch for potholes, puddles and obstacles." He said such outdoor challenges can also improve balance and proprioception, the awareness of the position of one's body in space.
Fitness and wellness coach Shirley Archer, who travels regularly between Switzerland and Florida, said transitioning from cold to warm weather is easier than the other way around. "In cold weather muscles are colder, the body loses heat more easily, old injuries are more noticeably stiff and the outdoor gym - Revive Activecardiovascular system is more stressed," she said. When transitioning to a new workout environment, she advises, it's better to rely more on feelings of perceived exertion than to follow a particular pre-set training pace or time.
"Listen to your body. If you're uncomfortable or straining, ease up," she said.
Extracts via Reuters