HEALTHPLAN MAGAZINE

5 Outdoor Activities For Expats In Spain Health Tips

We all know that to live a long and vibrant life we need to exercise on a regular basis in order to keep a whole host of medical conditions at bay.

Fortunately, for those of us living in Spain, the weather provides us with the perfect year round opportunity to get outside and make full use of the environment we now call home.

No matter your age, there is a fantastic choice of activities that you can engage in that will not only keep you fit and healthy, but also give you the chance to meet other expats (and locals), which can sometimes be a challenge when settling in a new country.

Below you will find a list of just a handful of sporting activities that you may wish to try and some links to local groups and clubs up and down the country.

Lawn Green Bowling

Lawn Green Bowling is an extremely popular sport with expats in Spain, especially with older people and those who find more physically demanding activities a challenge.

But don't let that fool you. Lawn green bowls although more sedate and relaxing is still an effective form of exercise that can offer many health benefits.

Due to the bending and lunging technique involved, which includes keeping the head upright and the back straight, the joints and postural muscles receive a really good workout.

Not only that, bowling is good for helping to maintain balance and also helps to improve hand, eye and brain coordination. Something we all need as we get a little older.

Lawn Green Bowling Clubs and Groups
http://www.bowlinginspain.com/ - Site with lots of info on the bowling scene in Spain.
http://www.mijasbowls.org/ - Mijas, Costa del Sol
http://www.mirafloresbowlsclub.com/ - Mijas, Costa del Sol
http://www.andalucia.com/sports/bowls.htm - Details of some lawn bowling clubs in Andalucia.
http://www.fincaguilabowlsclub.es/ - Benidorm, Costa Blanca
http://www.bowlinginspain.com/Clubs/... - San Luis Bowling Club, Torrevieja, Costa Blanca

Yoga

If you're looking for a form of exercise that will give you a complete holistic work out and that you can practice at a more leisurely pace, give Yoga a go!

With around 100 different forms including Iyengar, Ashtanga and Hatha, Yoga has been practiced for some 5,000 years.

There are literally so many health benefits to practicing Yoga that we could do a separate article on it,

but a few include strengthening the core, toning muscles, improving posture and flexibility. It also promotes deep breathing and mental clarity.

The great thing is that due to the great weather in Spain, you can do it outside almost all year round including at the beach.

Yoga Clubs and Groups
http://www.kamalasyoga.com/ - Costa del Sol
http://www.kirsty-yoga-marbella.com/ - Marbella, Costa del Sol
http://meetyoga.webs.com/ - Mijas Costa, Costa del Sol
http://hagamosyoga.jimdo.com/english/ - Costa del Sol
http://www.casa-alessa.com/ - Moraira, Costa Blanca
http://francescastutely.com/classes/ - Javea, Costa Blanca
http://www.sunsalutestudio.com/ - Alicante

Mountain Biking

From hiking to biking. If you're looking for something a little more adventurous to get the adrenaline flowing, why not give mountain biking a go?

Spain is of course one of the most mountainous countries in the world, which makes it the ideal location for discovering some of the best mountain biking trails anywhere in Europe.

In terms of health benefits, mountain biking gives you a great all over workout exercising many of the muscle groups in the body. It's also good for the cardiovascular system and unlike road cycling, exhaust fumes will be pretty much non existent.

It can also be said that mountain biking is also really good for removing any unwanted stress. Being hundreds, if not thousands of feet up in the hills, with all that fresh air, peace and quiet and surrounded by nature, really will help to lower blood pressure levels.

There are a large number of mountain bike tour companies all over Spain offering everything from two week holidays, to short breaks, day rides and even skills training. Of course, you don't have to book an MTB holiday if you would rather do-it-yourself, but if just starting out, it's a good place to start in order to learn the necessary skills and safety aspects of the sport from an experienced instructor.

Clubs and Groups Links
http://www.hikeandbikeholidays.com - Offering day rides and mountain bike holidays in Ronda, Costa del Sol
http://mountainbikingvalencia.com/ - Guided mountain biking tours in the Valencia region.
http://www.mananamountainbikingspain.com/ - Mountain bike short breaks in Alicante region.
http://thedownhillbikeride.com/ - The famous 24 mile downhill bike ride - Costa Blanca
http://www.sierracycling.com/ - Sierra Nevada mountain bike breaks - Fuengirola, Costa del Sol

Hiking and Walking

Offering some of the finest hiking areas in Europe, Spain is the perfect choice to get your walking boots on and discover the country's diverse and often spectacular countryside.

Spain boasts some of the most stunning scenery anywhere in the world with a wide and varied array of flora, fauna and native wildlife on display.

Some of the best areas in Spain for hiking include Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. If you are feeling really adventurous you could take a pilgrimage to the North of Spain and venture along the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela ending at the 9th Century tomb of the Apostle James the Great. This is a mostly flat route that is walked each year by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and can be discovered either on your own or as a part of many walking tours that are available.

Wherever you reside in Spain and whatever your age and fitness level, you won't have any problems in finding a suitable hiking or walking route.

The best time for walking during the year is Autumn and Spring.

Hiking Tours and Groups Links
http://thingstodoinspain.info/activities/walking-and-hiking/coastal-and-mountain-walks - La Pedrera Walking Group, Costa Blanca
http://cbmwalkers.org/ - Costa Blanca Moutain Walkers Group, Costa Blanca
http://cbwalkers.webs.com/ - Southern Costa Blanca Walking Group
http://www.thefieldclub.es/walking_in_spain/ - The Field Club, Costa del Sol
http://www.sur-walks.com/ - Sur Walks, Costa del Sol

Golf

Thousands of golfers flock to Spain each year to tee-off and try to improve their handicaps while playing many of the best courses in Europe.

Golf is not only great fun, it's also good for keeping fit. The famous writer Mark Twain once said, "Golf is a good walk spoiled", so maybe he wasn't a fan, but one things for sure, you will get a good walk. On average 18 holes of golf will mean you covering around 8.5kms!

Unlike the UK, playing golf in Spain is an almost year round activity with the exception of July and August, when the extreme summer heat can sometimes deter even the most devoted of players from hitting the fairways.

If you live here, you will have the perfect opportunity to play these courses on a regular basis while enjoying the warm Spanish sunshine. Of course, golf's not only great for keeping fit and active, but is also an excellent way of extending your social circles.

If you are based in the Costa del Sol, often referred to as the "Costa del Golf", you will have around 60 world class courses to choose from. Valderrama for example is considered to be one of the best courses in Europe and has played host to a number of major professional tournaments over the years including the 1997 Ryder Cup and European PGA Tour.

Other regions such as the Costa Blanca also boast many top courses such as the popular La Sella Golf in Denia and Club de Golf Villamartin in Orihuela Costa.

Golf is extremely popular in Spain and the expat golfing scene is particularly strong with many societies being run up and down the country.

There are many companies that offer reduced green fees as well as clubs and societies that also enjoy favourable rates. See our list of just a few below.

Groups and Societies
http://www.golfbreaksinspain.com - Offers green fees and golf holidays - Costa del Sol
http://www.igsgolf.com/ - The International Golf Society Spain - Marbella Costa del Sol
http://www.torreblancagolfsociety.co.uk/ - Torreblanca Golf Society - Torreblanca, Costa del Sol
http://costa-blanca-golf.blogspot.co.uk/ - Costa Blanca Golf Society
http://www.levantegolfsociety.com/ - Levante Golf Society - Costa Blanca
http://www.costa-blanca-greenfees.com/ - Costa Blanca Green Fees

This is just a handful of activities available to expat's living here in Spain. The great climate makes Spain the perfect environment to enjoy a whole manner of outdoor sports and activities.