Hold Fast Iron

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

Hold Fast Iron is dedicated to sharpening the lives of others.  


Written by: Mark Smith

Today is gorgeous. A picture perfect mid-Spring day, one of those Chamber of Commerce days where every tour given is a deal made. Days like this are welcomed by everyone I have ever met. It seems that everybody is an outdoor enthusiast when conditions are just right. And rightfully so I must add, deep down we want to be outside more. It is in our DNA, but we have gotten away from an adaptive practice of play outside. Today is perfect; no one will have trouble playing outside today. I will take all my evening students out for some childhood-like fun. Yesterday was less than ideal; rainy, a bit windy, and a chill in the air of foreboding evening storms. However, I managed a wet hike with my 60 year old father, and my 22 month old son. 

In the March edition of my monthly newsletter I wrote about the importance of getting outside in all types of weather and conditions. I am blessed to live in a place where we have nice weather most of the time so it makes things a little easier. It does rain often though and this past winter we were not spared nor was anyone from the beastly cold and unrelenting grasp of Old Man Winter. Inevitably 2014-2015 winter will go down as a historic one.  Although the months of January and February had weather similar to Scotland I still made sure to get outside often and encouraged my students to as well. I believe that as a modern society we are losing a very valuable part of our humanity. That is adaptability.   This is the modern age, your thermostat is set at 72, you get in your car and make the interior as comfortable as possible; most gyms nowadays are climate controlled with heating and AC (mine is not). We avoid being out in the rain, the cold, the extreme heat, too windy etc. etc. Our skin is the largest organ and in many ways the most neglected organ in terms of training.

When we get outside in all kinds of weather we condition the skin and allow it to do its job, which is to accommodate to the elements and be our first line of protection, but also our first line of information. We feed the extroceptors and neurons when we mix up the conditions in which we play. I often joke that I like all weather (though high wind is super annoying), and it’s because I am outside year round. It gets hot and VERY humid where I live; god I love it, a good sweat. Sometimes we have wind chills in the single digits; good, bundle up and go for a run give the lungs a bit of work.  We also get a lot of wet, chilly days. These are my favorite and delightfully refreshing (everyone around me hates them). They're perfect for a walkabout, a trail run, or some odd object training.  I have chosen rather than complaining about the weather, which I have absolutely no control over, to instead embrace it and continue to develop my outdoor practice in all weather.

Should you train outside, you too will adapt and become more comfortable. In the end you will be more adaptable, be more mentally tough, see more of the great outdoors, have a better attitude, and just enjoy life more. This has been my experience thus far and I hope to pass it on to others. One last thing to remember as the English say, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”  



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