If anyone has met me, they will know I love a bit of outdoors activity; be that hiking, rambling, mountaineering or running. I just can’t get enough, but why do I feel this is such an important aspect of my life?
Mainly because it helps clear my mind, I personally find being outdoors meditative, you are able to process your thoughts and digest your daily and weekly encounters, I often find it helpful to “de-humanise”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love spending time around people, however on some occasions this may become overwhelming.
There has been much research into the psychological benefits of outdoor activity, sports or otherwise. A 2009 study by Ryan, Weinstein and Bernstein et al. published by the journal of environmental psychology, found that “Being outdoors was associated with greater vitality, a relation that was mediated by the presence of natural elements”.
A systematic review of studies comparing indoor versus outdoor activity conducted in natural environment suggests that outdoor activity, which is conducted in a natural or green environment causes greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement.
Similarly, a smaller pilot study revealed that participants had;
As well as the psychological effects of immersing yourself in nature, there are cardiovascular benefits.
Gladwell, V. , Brown, D., Wood, C., Sandercock, G., and Barton, J. (2013). The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme Physiology & Medicine.
Mutz, M and Muller, M. (2016). Mental health benefits of outdoor adventures: Results from two pilot studies. Journal of Adolescents.49, 105-114.
Ryan, R., Weinstein, N., Bernstein, J., Brown, K. Mistretta, L. and Gagne, M. (2010). Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental psychology, 30. 159-168.
White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B., Hartig, T., Warber, S., Bone, A., Depledge, M. and Fleming, L. (2019) Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep 9, 7730. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, it has an elastic structure and a unique ability to store and release energy.
Tendonitis and tendinopathy are often used interchangeably, however this is not actually correct; tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tendinopathy (i.e. non-inflammatory) is more of a clinical diagnosis of pain and dysfunction. It is a cellular response to loading and overuse. It can often occur after a sudden increase/ change in exercise (sometimes an increase in volume) or change in exercise patterns, (i.e. trying a new sport/ adding in a new exercise- jump squats vs normal squat for example).
Achilles tendinopathy is related to the ability of the tendon to cope with the new load, exercises specific to strengthening this tendon will help healing and return to activity.
The majority of tendinopathies can be treated using a combination of simple exercises; the most important aspect of treating a tendinopathy is to identify the aggravating factors and then gradually introduce the right loading patterns.
Have a try of these exercises, but pay attention to your body and monitor as you go along. You do need exercises specific to the tendon to help recovery, but overloading the tendon may worsen the pain.
2. Stand on the edge of a step. on one foot, as shown in the picture. Your heels should be over the edge of the step. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat three times.
3. Stand on the edge of a step, on two feet. Your heels should be over the edge of the step. Lift up on to your toes, and slowly lower back to the starting position. Ensuring you do not drop your heels lower than the step. Complete three sets of 10-12 repetitions.
4. Stand on the edge of a step, on one foot. Your heel should be over the edge of the step. Lift up on to your toes and slowly lower back to the starting position. Do not drop your heels lower than the step. Complete three sets of 10-12 repetitions.