Hikes and climbs in the great outdoors provide a great workout… and bring you into the great outdoors!
Many people prefer to work out with a personal trainer guiding and enabling them to focus on problem areas they want perfectly shaped and toned. But there is another, arguably more fun way of getting in shape and staying fit – and you can get close to nature in the process.
There are quite a few outdoor activities that are strenuous and tiring, and also exhilarating. Many of these will leave you with fresh appreciation for the wonders of nature, apart from toning every part of your body and giving you a rigorous workout.
For those who are not used to these outdoor activities, it’s a good idea to start slow, with trekking, for instance. As long as the terrain is fairly mild, this involves walking and climbing through beautiful and untouched pockets of nature. There are treks of different degrees of difficulty, and it’s always sensible to start with the easier ones. Before going on a trek, make sure you have at least two bottles of water, a couple of small packs of juice and a candy bar or a granola bar for that energy boost you might need. It’s also very important to dress appropriately; loose clothes provide full mobility, and sturdy shoes are also a must. Hiking is also a great group activity, and with the many trekking and hiking groups around the city, it’s a great way of meeting like-minded people.
If you’re up for something even more exciting and adventurous, abseiling could be the way to go. Abseiling is the controlled descent down the face of a rock or a cliff using a rope. By definition, this method of descent is used when the cliff face in question is too steep to go down without the additional protection of ropes. There are different techniques that are used for abseiling. For a beginner, the releasable abseil method – in which the non-rappelling end of the rope is locked off – is safest. If the abseiler faces any difficulty, this strand is unlocked by the guide and the person is lowered to safety. When you abseil, you usually face upwards, and use your feet to navigate in the right direction and stay away from any potentially dangerous outcrops. For people with more experience, rappelling – where two people abseil using the two different ends of the rope – can be a more challenging option.
Rock climbing is another great outdoor activity that will definitely tire you out by the end of the day! Bouldering, one of the most common and easiest forms of rock climbing, is a great start. Bouldering is typically limited to short climbs and is done without the assistance of ropes. For safety, a crash pad called a bouldering mat is usually placed at the bottom, for the safety of the climber. This is an activity that requires both strength and endurance. Like most kinds of outdoor activities, bouldering, too, has different degrees of difficulty.
Chimney climbing is another sport that requires endurance, stamina and strength. In this activity, you go up a narrow gap between two rock faces –much like a chimney – using your hands and feet, bracing your back against one rock face and facing the other. This, again, is something that should only be attempted when you have a guide who can give you clear instructions if you get stuck. One thing that can be a cause for concern while chimney climbing is claustrophobia; if you are uneasy with enclosed spaces, this is not the right activity for you! Obviously, chimney climbing gives your entire body a terrific workout.
There are outdoor activities to suit everyone’s tastes - whether you’re a tenderfoot who’s never really set out on a nature adventure, or you’re an adrenaline junkie who prefers the thrills of cliff-diving or bungee-jumping. Staying fit just for the sake of fitness can get monotonous and boring. These outdoor activities give you the same physical benefits, if not more, than sweating it out in the gym. And there’s the added advantage of spending time in nature, and really accomplishing something at the end of the day. And who knows? The next stop could be Mount Everest!