Benefits of the outdoors

This article was posted earlier this year as a guest entry on the DigiGranBiz travel blog. Unfortunately the aforementioned blog no longer exists, so I decided to publish a slightly refreshed version of the original text here on Tommy’s Outdoors website.

 

Taking on outdoor activities is like a cure for the damaging, sedentary lifestyle that most of us are living. Our bodies are fundamentally built for movement. Prolonged hours in the same, often unnatural position, are damaging to our musculoskeletal system. Similarly our minds are built for a challenge, but not for the persistent stress that we receive in microdoses daily.

The solution is not simply a matter of going to the gym and exercising. For proper functioning our bodies and minds also need fresh air, the sounds of nature, and the light that comes from the central star known as the sun. While in nature we can disconnect from our own entangled thoughts. We can start paying attention to our surroundings and how they influence us. We will quickly notice that our minds stabilize and become relaxed. The tension in our muscles goes away. Our mood lifts.

Getting into nature also lets us leave behind most of the pollution generated by civilization. Fossil fuel fumes, chemicals, overwhelming noise, excess of the blue light generated by ubiquitous screens, and electrosmog. The harmful effects of most of these are well known and documented. The effects of others are still unknown.

Staying in a natural environment for a few days offers further benefits. The circadian rhythm, unnaturally distorted by ever-present artificial lighting, resets and begins to work in its natural way. Our eating habits begin to return to their normal pattern of around 15 hours of fasting and 9 hours of feeding.

Finally, our spiritual side gets an enormous boost. Connection with the natural environment that surrounds us, a mountain, the sea, or a forest, is very real and almost palpable. It forces us to ask the timeless questions about our own existence and place on this earth.

D

I hope that this short text encouraged you to spend more time in nature and to do so more consciously. The benefits are countless and the drawbacks are none. And if you feel like you are getting the bug, come back and visit this website more often and immerse yourself in the world of the outdoors. Also, subscribe to the podcast on the platform of your choice (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Podbean and more). See you in the outdoors!

Swarovski Optik

Before we start, this is not sponsored content. I am not being paid by Swarovski in any way or form. I simply want to share my thoughts after having had an opportunity to try a variety of Swarovski binoculars and scopes in the field.

Swarovski might seem like very expensive gear, but it represents something that is scarce these days and what I like to call “the old-days quality”. Way too often, we get conditioned to the disposability and the poor manufacturing and material quality of the devices we are using in our daily lives.

When we buy a Swarovski product, we are most likely buying it for life. Quite likely, the device will last beyond our own lifetime and will be passed on to our children and grandchildren. So you might be spending €1000 instead of €300 or €400, but the unit you are purchasing will last decades. In most cases, this makes the initial cost of purchase much more justifiable. It is worth mentioning, as well, that Swarovski’s support team pride themselves in taking good care of their products after sale. They will support their customers if they need their optics to be serviced, refurbished or, on rare occasions, fixed.

All of the above makes for low depreciacion in value over time, meaning that a pair of Swarovski binoculars, for example, can be sold after a long time very close to its original purchase value. In fact, there is a substantial market for used and refurbished Swarovski optics. All of the above paints a picture of a unique and high quality product brand.

To learn more about Swarovski products, listen to episode 9 of Tommy’s Outdoors podcast. If you like it, please rate us and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or any other platform where you aggregate your podcasts.

Running for weight loss

The title of this article is a little misleading, as I don’t think that running is a good choice of exercise for weight loss. In my opinion, it is one of the worst ways to go about it. It’s important to note, I’m referring here to the type of running known as jogging and not to sprints, which are an entirely different type of physical activity.

It is common knowledge that to achieve positive results in any attempt at body transformation, consistency and persistence are the key factors. Unfortunately, these are more difficult to achieve with running than with most other types of physical activity. Compared to other types of exercise, to achieve tangible results, running requires a significantly bigger time investment. The risk of injury is higher and the results come slower.

To initiate the fat burning process in our bodies, while running at a slow to moderate pace, we need between 30 and 45 minutes. This means that if we run for one hour, we only get 20 minutes of fat burning activity. This inefficient process needs to be repeated week after week, month after month and yes, year after year. All of the above makes our running commitment hard to sustain, especially during winter months when the days are short and the weather doesn’t encourage us to go outdoors.

Running, together with powerlifting and crossfit, is one of the top three most damaging types of training. Running is also considered an impact sport, like boxing, football or hockey. The damaging effects are amplified by the fact that most people wanting to lose weight are, well, overweight, which puts even more load on their joints. For this reason at least 80% of people who run, sooner or later, end up with an injury.

Long distance running is one of the great classic endurance sports. I have no intention here to discourage anyone from trying it and developing a passion for it. However, if your goal is to control your storage body fat, there are much better and more effective ways to do that. My personal recommendation would be to try one of the many types of high-intensity workouts. They stimulate our metabolism in a way that extends the fat burning process beyond the duration of the exercise. There is no point taking on running, dreading it, and then only thinking about not having to do it anymore. In that situation you are more likely to stop doing it due to an injury, rather than to having achieved your goal.

To find out more about running and weight loss, check out episode 3 of the podcast where I talk with Mike Kissane, a seasoned marathon runner.