Training in the gym is a great way to keep fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, but occasionally it is a good idea to test yourself with a physical fitness challenge.
Whether it is running a race, cycling for charity, joining a team and playing in a league, doing a muddy adventure challenge or participating in a workplace challenge such as reaching step targets, putting your fitness to the test in a competitive environment is good for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that it motivates you to train harder and smarter. If you know that your sessions on the treadmill are going to help you run a good 10k or a marathon, then you are more likely to put in the effort in your training session. If you enter a workplace challenge to do more steps in a week, then it is amazing how much more attractive walking up the stairs, rather than taking the lift will seem. If you know that lifting weights will help you sprint faster on the football pitch, then you will push out a few more pounds in the gym.
Competition enhances teamwork, communication and socialising skills. This is a pretty obvious point for a team sport – if you are all working together for a common goal, then you will find your skills at working as part of a team and communicating with your teammates will improve, but it is also true of competing against others. If you have ever taken part in a sportive or triathlon, you will know that, while it is all about crossing the finishing line first, people are still happy to give advice, encouragement and help.
Good for the mind
Competition will aid mental well-being. The feeling of heightened self-esteem that you get when you finish a challenge can be immense. A friend recently completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks within the 12 hour time slot. He wasn’t athletic in the traditional sense of the word and had never really taken part in sporting activities. However, the immense pride he felt as he crossed the finish line with just six minutes to go was obvious to everyone.
Push your limits
Accepting a challenge also acts as a stimulus. It is putting you outside your normal parameters of existence so you might need to learn new skills or push yourself to new limits. This is not always an easy thing to do, so it is also a way of learning more about yourself and your levels of determination. How close to the edge can you push yourself physically will often translate across to other areas of your life.
These are just a few of the many benefits of accepting a challenge. Here are just three ideas for physical fitness challenges that you can take part in around the Cambridge area. Come on, release the adventurer within you and give real meaning to your workout.
Starting from Pickett’s Lock in north London, the ride winds through beautiful countryside to the finish at Midsummer Common, Cambridge, where you’ll be met with music, refreshments, beer tent and massage.
Cambridge Park Run every Saturday at 9am.
The course is 5000m (5K) long. The course is in Milton County park, and entirely on gravel paths. The organisers ask that you take public transport, bike or walk to the event if possible.
5k and 10k options.
Make your way through the 5k course with 20+ obstacles and 2+ BG Survival Challenges or the 10k course with 35+ natural and man-made obstacles.
Battle the elements of the desert, arctic, and jungle through the BG Survival Challenges – testing your ability to endure a range of real-world survival scenarios.
This is the perfect course for those who may be new to the survival world, but want to release their inner Bear! Whether you are running as a lone soldier or with a team, the Survival Race will leave you tired, but with a big sense of accomplishment that is well deserved.