"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Orienteering: Great Exercise and Better Thinking Skills?

Picture this: You're in an unfamiliar jungle with friends using only a map and a compass to guide you to an upcoming checkpoint. There are not any cell phones or GPS gadgets to assist, just good old brain power fueled by a way of adventure as you walk through leafy trees and sparkling sunlight.

This shouldn't be a campsite or a treasure hunt. According to a 2023 study, it's a sport of navigation called orienteering — a fun method to get outside, exercise and maybe help fight cognitive decline.

What is orienteering?

Orienteering combines map and compass reading with exercise. Competitors (“orienteers”) race against the clock to succeed in checkpoints in outdoor settings that may range from city parks to distant areas with mountains, lakes, rivers or snowy plains.

“You can go out in a group or on your own. You get a very detailed map and you navigate your way to checkpoints that record your time electronically,” Clinton Morris, national communications manager. Says that Orienteering USAthe national governing body for sports within the United States.

Because Orientals are racing the clock, they will run on trails, climb hills, or roll around boulders. This is for fit-based events. There are also orienteering events with courses designed for mountain biking, cross-country skiing, or canoeing.

How can orienteering affect pondering skills?

Oh 2023 mini-study I used to be published online. PLoS One A possible link was found between orienteering and quick pondering skills.

Researchers asked 158 healthy people aged 18 to 87 about their health, activities, navigation skills and memory. About half of the participants had various levels of orienteering experience. Other participants were physically lively but weren't Oriental.

Compared to review participants who didn't engage in orienteering, those that were orienteers

  • Having higher navigational processing skills (recognizing where objects were, and where participants were in relation to things)
  • Improved navigation memory skills (remembering routes and landmarks).

The study was observational—that's, not an actual experiment—and thus didn't prove that orienteering improves people's pondering skills. But the link could also be plausible.

Where are you able to find orienteering opportunities?

There are about 70 orienteering clubs within the United States, and lots of more worldwide (the game is amazingly popular in Europe). To find an orienteering event in your area, use Club finder tool Presented by Orienteering USA.

How are you able to start with orienteering?

People of all ages and athletic levels can participate, as orienteering courses vary from local parks to wilderness experiences. About $7 to $10 per person for local events, or $25 to $40 per person for national events, plus travel and lodging expenses.

To make orienteering easier at first, Morris recommends going with a gaggle and taking things slowly on a brief novi course. “You don't need a race,” he says. “Some people do it recreationally to enjoy the challenge of completing the course at their own pace.”

The hardest part is learning to read a map. Morris's advice:

  • Turn the map if you change directions. Hold the map in order that the direction you might be going is at the highest of the page. For example, if the compass indicates that you simply are heading south, turn the map the other way up, in order that the south side is up and easier to follow.
  • Create a mental picture of what the map is telling you. If there may be a fence next to a field on the map, picture it in your mind so you'll be able to recognize it if you see it, even when you haven't been there before.

Tips for protected and enjoyable orienteering events:

  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothing including long pants, good walking shoes, and a hat.
  • foaming. You'll be outside for not less than an hour, and also you'll need sunblock and possibly tick and bug spray, depending on the realm. Prevention of tick bites Which can result in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is vital in lots of places.
  • Bring some essentials. Pack water, a snack, sunblock, bug spray, and your phone. (Keep the phone off unless that you must call for help.)
  • Use common sense. Be aware that the shortest route on the map isn't at all times one of the best, as it could take you thru a hill or dense vegetation. It could also be higher to go to these areas.

Once you've learned the fundamentals of orienteering, you'll be able to make it more physically difficult (and a greater workout) by going faster and attempting to beat your previous times, or more. By signing up for a sophisticated course that's longer and requires more effort and speed.

And regardless of what event you take part in, benefit from the adventure. “You're not just walking a path, you're solving puzzles immersed in nature,” Morris says. “It's a great way to experience the outdoors.”