Playing rough in the rain helps build immunity

Jogging or playing in heavy rain with strong winds can chill you. If you shiver, return home to have a hot bath

Playing rough in the rain helps build immunity
When scorching su­mmer hits the plains of India, the hardcore athletes airily tell recreational athletes how to beat the heat and continue to train outdoors. One can confine oneself to an air-conditioned gym at the peak of summer but, especially for adventure sports and activities, the benefits of training in the outdoors are irreplaceable. Outdoor training must go on. So, say the pros, do workouts early in the morning, maybe pre-dawn, when the earth is still cool and the night air is clinging to the vegetation. This piece of advice is easy to follow.

The problem arises with the next part of the mantra – ‘before sunrise and after sunset’. In mid-summer, the air takes hours to cool after the sun has set. In North India, the baked earth, even when covered with grass, sends out waves of heat. So do the bricks of buildings and the asphalt of roads.

If you are an amateur adventure athlete, juggling your passion for an adventure sport between a corporate job and family responsibilities, trying to upgrade your ability in mid-summer is almost impossible. For most people, the sensible thing to do is to aim to maintain your level or let it drop a little because you can easily get back to intense training once the monsoon arrives.

The winter and the monsoon used to be the best times to train for adventure sports. Now, though, the pollution of winter, when the cold air slows the dispersion of atmospheric pollution, makes things difficult. That makes the monsoon the best season for outdoor training. The rain washes away both atmospheric pollution and dust from leaves, park railings and pathways.

However, to make the best use of what the monsoon offers, the thing to do is to get down and dirty. Run, jog and walk in the rain and mud without being squeamish. If you get the opportunity, do a training run in an open area or park that you are unfamiliar with. Jump into small pools of water and over stones and fallen branches in water, dodge overhanging branches that you suddenly come upon as you turn a bend – it’s all excellent for sharpening reflexes and agility for adventure activities.

There is nothing like playing football in the rain and mud. Any team activity works as well – even a game of tug o’ war. Don’t worry about ordinary dirt, insects and minor scratches, though a tetanus shot in case of broken skin is recommended. Playing rough in the rain and mud helps build immunity and is important not just for adventure activities but for life in general. Jim Corbett would famously take a sip of water from dirty forest pools off and on to keep his immunity level high.

Jogging or playing in heavy rain with strong winds can chill you so, if you start shivering, return home and have a hot bath. Some people can afford to be out longer, others might catch cold if they expose themselves too long. Be wise to your own body.

As for activities, this is the time for monsoon treks in the hills and plains, and post-monsoon Himalayan trekking and climbing expeditions. In southern India, rafting and kayaking is done downstream of dams when the reservoirs fill and the engineers open the sluice gates to ease pressure.

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