Well, after a wait of several months in some cases, it has finally happened; welcome to my first post!
You might be wondering just what I’m up to here – why am I writing about performance in outdoor sports?
Good question, let me break it down.
Since my earliest years, I have always loved the outdoors. Whether climbing trees and falling in rivers as a kid, bivouacking with my mates in the forest as a teen, or more recently exploring the joys to be had in snowy mountains as an adult, I love it. Can’t get enough.
I really believe that life is better spent outdoors. In fact, a lot of studies support this: people who spend more time in nature are reported to enjoy:
- Lower stress
- Greater creativity
- Emotional stability
- Improved sleep
- Improved attention spans
- Higher serotonin levels
To put it as simply as possible, time spent outdoors is hugely beneficial for us: It basically makes us happier and better people.
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In this context, sports are an enjoyable means to give structure to the time spent outdoors. At the same time, physical inactivity is a primary cause of many chronic diseases, and sports mean exercise, which is pretty beneficial for us sedentary modern humans. Most of us know we “should exercise,” but this implies that exercise is something unpleasant that has to be done for the reward of good health. If exercise is fun – as sports are – then it is intrinsically rewarding, making it a whole lot easier to do!
One of the best motivators in life is improvement and progress. If you have an activity with a target and some form of feedback on your achievement of that target, you have an indicator of progress. This can take many forms, for example, walking a little further, running a trail a few seconds faster, climbing a new route, or not falling over on a technical ski run…
Improvement is a very pleasant feeling indeed. In fact, it can be habit forming.
So, aiming for better performance in sports makes us more likely to undertake the sport, which in this context makes it more likely we will get outdoors and exercise, thus reaping a whole bunch of benefits.
Being outdoors is good. Sports are fun and healthy. Improving performance in sports feels good and makes us more likely to stick with it.
Performance + outdoors + sports = better quality of life
And we all want some of that!
This is why I am starting a blog on performance in outdoor sports.
I am in no way an expert in any outdoor sport. Not yet. I have spent some time running about in the woods, I know how to slide around on snow and I can ride a bike. I can also lift up heavy things and put them back down again in the controlled environment of a gym.
But to put this in perspective, readers of this blog include from the outset:
- Podium finishers in trail running races
- Professional mountain bikers
- Snowboard/ski instructors
- Adventure racers
- Backcountry guides
- And a whole bunch of people who love outdoor sports for the sake of it and are pretty good at what they do!
Even if I wanted to present myself as some kind of authority, I would quickly appear ridiculous. I am in the process of learning and trying new things. When I find something interesting or useful, I want to share it with you and hopefully start some dialogue.
In the next few weeks and months, I will be covering all aspects of performance in outdoor sports and play in nature. If any of the above resonates with you, or if you want me to cover something in particular, leave me a comment below!