Benefits of training outdoors
1. Increased vitamin D
- Exposure to the sun's beneficial ultraviolet-B radiation will cause a person's skin to create more vitamin D. Vitamin D is a crucial factor in bone health since low levels of vitamin D have been linked to bone wasting diseases such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
2. More challenging exercises
- Running outdoors requires much more coordination and balance compared to an indoor treadmill. Curbs, pot holes, and changes in running surface will challenge a person's balance. Sudden starts and stops at street lights will force a muscle to work from a complete stop to rapid activation.
3. Cancer Prevention
- While prolonged sun exposure can contribute to skin cancer, a moderate amount can actually help prevent it. It was found that individuals who live in areas which receive less sunlight were more likely to develop a number of cancers than those who live in areas with more sunlight. These cancers include: colon cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, and Hodgkin's lymphoma.
How to stay safe outdoors
1. Start slowly and build up
- During the first few weeks of training keep the training sessions short and low intensity. Since your body is not used to the higher temperatures your body's cooling system and heart will have to work much harder to compensate. Your heart will pump faster and you will sweat much more causing you to become dehydrated much sooner.
2. Bring the correct gear
- Light weight and loose clothing are a must in order to ensure you are allowing proper sweat and heat removal. Lighter colored clothing can also help reflect some of the sun's rays helping you stay cool. Sunscreen is a necessity to make sure your body is soaking up the sun's beneficial rays for vitamin D while blocking the harmful rays that lead to cancer.
3. Stay hydrated
- While doing physical activity it is crucial to rehydrate in order to allow your muscles to function properly. When training in the sun and heat this need for rehydration becomes even more important. Drinking enough water can help prevent muscle cramps, overheating, and increase performance.