For many outdoor athletes, the current scenario has led to a significant increase in group connectivity, training and a moment to be grateful for our health, fitness and our communities.
While some folks are left wondering what outdoor enthusiasts are up to these days, here’s a glimpse into the life of one of us as I know it best.
My last article was about the importance of oxygen to the brain and the significance of a treasured group activity and the prescription of nature.
If you look at the pivot in my lifestyle right now, surprisingly very little has changed and in many ways the significance of group connectivity and exercise has accelerated as a necessity. I know many fitness enthusiasts who will relate to this.
At the Shawangunks with a crew of lead climbing athletes on international woman's day on Mar 8th. Little did we know that would most likely be our last climb for the season. Now we just have to get back with improved skills.
First and foremost, those that are driven by outdoor sports, have a fundamental need to keep fit or else there really is no improvement. Physical & metal fitness play a disproportionately higher role for improved performance in any sport. At least, such has been the case with outdoor/indoor climbing. I always found it difficult to keep up with learning my knots and anchors and training while being pulled in different directions – social commitments, kid’s classes, drives to the gym etc. A critical component of the psychological first-aid kit of an outdoor sportsman/woman, is the desire and need to train and stay fit.
Increased access to online classes and social media content has opened-up a world of online and in-home training possibilities.
Being in quarantine has pushed many of us to find creative ways to stay fit and focused. In my case this has significantly enhanced social connectivity with my fitness community. Now that I do not make it to the climbing gym every 2x a week which I miss very much, climbing partners simply connect over zoom calls and social media. We have got to know each other better, hopefully, making for a stronger partnership. One of the climbing groups I belong to have designed an app where we can all connect nationally. Featured here in Outside Magazine. Would this have happened otherwise? Maybe, but the current state-of-affairs certainly accelerated a lot of these solutions.
Personally, I have set aside 10-15 minute breaks in increments all through the day by catching a quick 7 minute workout or a Peleton challenge, convincing myself that this will not hamper, but rather fuel my productivity. Taking these breaks in short bursts if and when possible, happens to be a way to reduce the production of adenosine in the brain along with mental fatigue as I found in this write up by Outside Mag. The article also goes on to explain how elite athletes perhaps, with their grueling training regimens, build up a functional immunity to mental fatigue. My weekend challenges incorporate skill-building such as top-rope anchoring lessons by AMGA certified guides. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-pLP9dRWPc. I had been putting these lessons off for a while - technical training simply took a back seat.
The current scenario has turned into the perfect excuse to train harder, work harder and up the game!
This experience so far has been a reminder of what a privilege it is to have access to the outdoors – whether it is the national parks or our own backyards and the sense of comradery inherent in outdoor sports.
We look forward to coming out of this better trained in our craft and better connected to our friends, family and communities.
Health and fitness are gifts worth treasuring. Perhaps this is a reminder to take whatever time we can set aside between juggling work, homeschooling and everything else to stay fit and stay healthy as it is fuels how good we can get at everything else.
References and Links :
1. Gear hacks to keep your kids entertained at home
2. Stanford School of Education's Website
3. American Mountain Guide's Association Training Videos
4. "How to build a psychological first aid kit" Outside online
5. Canadian Sport Institute
6. Webinar 6 by Dr. Trent Stellingwerff (Training in a Pandemic)
7. Faroe Islands Virtual Tour Project
8. When it's okay to keep pushing and when you're better off taking it easy