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Orienteering is an interesting sport that has the unique appeal of being part treasure hunt, part mental- and physical exercise. First established as a sport in Sweden during the latter part of the 19th century, the game grew from military training that focused primarily on land navigation by means of maps and compasses. Orienteering games became popular with civilians around 1897, at which time the first public competition was established in Norway.

Today, orienteering is enjoyed worldwide by a wide array of participants that range from toddlers in pushchairs to 80 year-old pensioners who like to keep active. Although the sport can become quite technical on competitive level, it can also be enjoyed as a family activity and can be tailored to suit the requirements of any group. Although the game can be enjoyed on skis, bikes, horses and in wheelchairs (to name but a few), the most common mode of participation remains on foot, which allows individuals to compete in terms of both mental- and physical fitness.

Often called 'The Thinking Sport', the main challenge of orienteering lies in the fact that you have to think and act simultaneously, plotting your route and navigating correctly while on the move. Orienteering maps and the difficulty thereof differ according to the level at which you wish to compete - if you are merely doing it as a means to unwind or reconnect with the family it will be relatively straightforward, whereas it can become quite complex on national and international level.

The benefits of participating in orienteering are many, some of which include:

  • It is a great aerobic workout. We all know how important it is to get regular exercise and orienteering provides a fun, interesting alternative to plodding away on the treadmill or running the same route day after day. Exploring new areas and navigating as you go keeps you engaged and before you know it you have completed the whole route without even realising you were exercising!
  • It improves your mental acuity. Applying information from a 2D map to the real, live 3D world is hard enough when you are sitting on your couch, so just imagine how challenging it gets to wrap your head around the stats when you are moving along at a steady pace. This combination of mental and physical exertion makes for an interesting experience that will allow you to find out where the limits of your endurance truly lie!<li><u>You learn valuable outdoor skills
  • As city-dwellers we rarely worry about getting lost in the midst of the wilderness (for the urban jungle we of course have a handy GPS unit), so many of us neglect to learn basic navigation skills that could stand us in good stead in the event of an emergency. By participating in orienteering you can ensure that your backpacking-, mountain biking and off-road ski excursions never go awry due to bad directions.

These are just some of the multitude of benefits associated with orienteering games. Before you start out you will require a few basics pieces of orienteering equipment, which is why the team at McSport has taken the time to source high orienteering gear quality items at affordable prices. Browse our section and contact us if you have any further questions on any of our sports equipment.

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