Advantages of outdoor sports…and some disadvantages

More health and well-being

The practice of regular physical exercises, indoors and outdoors, is one of the main health recommendations to prevent a host of pathologies. According to the World Health Organization, it helps in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer. , among others.

It also helps prevent high blood pressure and maintain a healthy body weight, improves aerobic capacity (the ability of the heart and vascular system to transport and consume oxygen) and strengthens bones and muscles, which reduces risk of falls and fractures.

Exercising outdoors helps to reach recommended vitamin D levels

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Less stress and more self-esteem

The body is not the only one to benefit from the practice of a sport. Studies show it also improves mental health, reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, and boosts self-esteem.

Although the reasons for this relationship are not very clear, it is known that the practice of physical activity releases endorphins, substances produced by the brain, with a structure similar to opiates, which have an analgesic action and stimulate the cerebral areas related pleasure, well-being or happiness. So people who do any physical exercise (from a brisk basketball game to a relaxed walk) experience satisfaction and improved mood after a session.

Training with a resistance band

The body is not the only one to benefit from sport


train the brain

In addition to endorphins, the practice of physical exercise involves the release of other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, associated, among other things, with rest, mood, appetite and digestion; dopamine, known as the pleasure molecule for its ability to stimulate well-being; or norepinephrine, linked to cognitive ability.

In this sense, various studies show how exercise influences cognitive abilities. In the book “Brain and exercise”, published by the Superior Council for Scientific Research of Spain (CSIC), sport is linked to greater learning capacity in children, to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and a longer life expectancy.


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A shot of vitamin D

It is therefore more than proven that playing sports benefits our physical and mental state of health, but what additional benefits does it imply to play sports outside? Among other benefits, exercising outdoors helps to reach recommended levels of so-called vitamin D, a hormone whose deficiency is associated with decreased bone density and decreased muscle strength. , among other effects.

Despite the hours of sunshine in Spain, one of the highest in Europe, studies show that most of the population has a deficit of this hormone, which the body obtains through diet, exposure to the sun or nutritional supplements.


Opting for outdoor and open spaces reinforces the feeling of well-being

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Discover the urban circuits

With regard to the pleasure associated with the practice of sport, opting for outdoor and open spaces generally improves the feeling of well-being associated with exercise, while allowing contact with nature and having enough space to practice the chosen discipline. You can choose parks, green spaces, boardwalks or tracks and sports fields in your area.

In addition, some town halls set up sports running circuits in urban public spaces, signposted and with practical information, which allow sports to be practiced in a simple and accessible way, adapted to everyone’s physical condition. There are also circuits designed for walking or cycling.


Cities have routes for walking, running or cycling

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Gyms and activities

Beyond circuits for walking, running or cycling, many town halls have integrated urban parks for action sports enthusiasts and sports equipment for gymnastics circuits into their public facilities.

Some of this equipment is of the calisthenic type, with bars that take advantage of the weight of the body to develop agility, physical strength and flexibility. Others consist of more varied circuits, ideal even for the elderly, accessible freely or as part of an organized activity. The outdoor spaces also serve as a stage to practice aerobics, yoga, tai chi or dance activities in which, in addition, socialization is enhanced.

Possible risks to consider

Beyond the general benefits of practicing a sport, and those specific to practicing it outdoors, opting for outdoor spaces has some disadvantages. One of them is the meteorology. Exposure to heat, cold or rain can involve a forced change of plans that leads to a break with the routine or increases discomfort during training, in addition to influencing sports performance. Another aspect to take into account depending on the sport that is going to be practiced and the chosen environment is the organization. A day of hiking in the mountains will require more preparation than an indoor aerobics session. In addition to the necessary equipment, the weather must be taken into account beforehand and be aware, if you opt for remote areas, of the risk of suffering an injury or an accident requiring attention in poorly served areas.

Also the fact of not training in an enclosed space can lead to having to face Entertainment environments that interfere with concentration. pollution and evil air quality are other factors to take into account, especially in urban areas or during periods of fog or heavy pollution. Indeed, depending on the level of air pollution, the authorities can trigger alarms that advise limiting or even avoiding the practice of physical exercise outdoors. In addition, in the case of cycling in urban environments with heavy traffic, specialists recommend using an anti-pollution mask with FFP labeling, better if it includes a valve to facilitate breathing, and keep warm. mind that the more the number of facial maskthe greater the protection it offers.

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