OK, this is an adventure sports blog so we love outdoor activities. But don’t think for a minute we are exclusive here. Even the hardiest mountaineer or hiker chooses good weather over bad. So what is it about the outdoors that makes them so great? And can indoor sports compete?
Mmmm, pause for thought. I can see indoor versions of outdoor activities being really enjoyable. A good climbing wall can test the best climbers’ abilities. It is great training and practice for rock climbing holidays, but is it just preparation for the real thing? Many people exclusively climb indoors and love it.
A friend of mine is training for a marathon – on a running machine. In his case he has little option, as he works on an oil platform. But I bet when he gets time off he’s not switching on a treadmill at home, he’s off up some wooded lowland trail.
Training simulators have been around for some time but some were little more than feeble looking, wind turbine-like Heath Robinson contraptions. They replaced the back wheels of road bikes with rollers or huge fans and had dull hypnotic digital readouts. Some did evolve into the high tech machines you find in gyms with pulse points and bio data. It’s still indoors though…
The latest virtual tech – and the difficulty we have currently in travelling – have helped push the solo indoor experience to new heights. The indoor cycling app Zwift, bespoke spin bike set-ups and online classes like Peloton are at the front of the virtual race – they’ve even helped contribute to a growing e-sports category.
Creating these experiences is easier in cycling when you can use most of your current equipment, they also successfully extend to mountain biking and running. But, anyone seen a surfing version yet? Paragliding maybe?
Slightly surreal don’t you think? An arctic ski-trainer plonked in a warmed conservatory, cup of tea on the side, washing machine finishing its cycle… You can even top it off by watching the Winter Olympics on TV! But if you live somewhere without snow and want to train for ski-touring holidays it is perhaps your best option.
Enough on the solo sports. Where indoor sports come good is when they are team events. You’ll never convince all of your work colleagues that playing football in the driving rain is preferable to hiring an indoor 5-a-side pitch. And why should you; any fool can be cold.
So for team sports, indoor activities can really trump as it’s the team experience that’s most important. But for solo pursuits, forget it. The reward is the effort, the elements are the challenge, the truth is out there.
We love outdoor activities but can indoor sports compete? In the world of adventure sports indoor alternatives are mostly just bad weather substitutes or training for what you really want to do. They are useful and have their place, but no, indoors cannot compete with outdoors.
Or can they? Let’s hear what you think. Kick off the discussion below.
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