What is orienteering, a sport with which to train breath and mind

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A map, a compass, lots of breath and a bit of tactics. These are the ingredients of orienteering, a sport that looks like a treasure hunt: aim for the lanterns (in fact the checkpoints) to be reached with a path of your choice. “It starts in staggered, on a secret competition ground up to the time of the start, equipped with a map that indicates the paths that can be traveled and the position of the lanterns”, he explains Luise Schmidt, trainer and former Swedish athlete. “The winner is the one who reaches the finish line first, after passing through the places indicated”.

Challenge yourself

The right way to approach this activity is to sign up for a race. Most of the competitions proposed by the Italian Federation of Orientation Sports (fiso.it) include easy routes, suitable for beginners and with few control points. Ideal for experimenting and training endurance in running and, of course, the ability to orient oneself. «Discovering that it is all a matter of technique and attention to detail», Underlines the expert.

Not just running

There is no single specialty. “Born in Finland, originally it was practiced with cross-country skis, on a grid of paths. The natural development was the race through the woods and then into the city centers. Then came the mountain bike trials and the Trail Orientationa specialty also suitable to those who have difficulty in movement: just identify the checkpoints, using a map and compass, at duly marked observation points along easily accessible paths even with a wheelchair»Explains the coach.

The benefits

«In addition to developing orientation, it is perfect for heart and lung health and burns 600-800 calories per hour. Running tones the glutes and core, the center of the body; on a mountain bike you work mainly with your legs and shoulders; with skis you train your quadriceps and back muscles at your best », he adds Maria Lupincpersonal trainer.

Keep an eye on the map

«It indicates unevenness, roughness (contour lines), and details of the vegetation (colors). Human works and natural elements are also recognized, from houses to caves»Explains Luise Schmidt. “The paths are indicated for difficulty: with a continuous line those easy, wide and with little slope; dotted for the most demanding ones and with the most inaccessible dots ». For races and training, the race track is superimposed: a small triangle signals the departuresmall circles the control points (to be reached in the order indicated) e the double headband the arrival. Finally, next to the map, you will find more information on the exact positioning of the lanterns.

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