Biophilia is intricately woven into our lives. We might not know it yet, but working out in green spaces is set to become one of the biggest new workout trends of 2023.
Biophilia workout popularity has risen steeply in the wake of Covid-19.
Being in nature has a calming and soothing effect on our bodies and minds.
Working out in green spaces has been proven to enhance social interaction and attention.
Biophilia workouts are in such high demand that some of the biggest gym clubs are now offering their classes outdoors.
What does biophilia mean?
Although the term ‘biophilia’ sounds like some sort of an illness or phobia of biology, it’s actually rather beautiful.
Biophilia is the natural human instinct to connect to nature and be outdoors. It’s the reason we are all obsessed over creating a houseplant jungle in our homes, and why we feel instantly more calm and collected when we breathe fresh air.
What is a biophilia workout?
A biophilia workout is quite simply a combination of our desire to be in nature and the drive to move our bodies.
Many of you might be used to a regular jog through your local woodland or park. Some of you might be cycling aficionados, frequenting woodland trails and bike routes around your neighborhood.
Whilst this most definitely qualifies as exercising outside, it isn’t exactly a biophilia workout.
2023 is the year that we are bringing what is routinely performed inside to the great outdoors!
The rising popularity of biophilia workouts
During the pandemic, millions of people began to appreciate their time outside. Seeing as we couldn’t just stroll freely around, we had to make the time spent outside our homes count.
Many of us developed new habits of walking, running and exercising under the open sky. And these new habits have stuck.
Stats from Sport England in the UK showed that those who walked at least twice in the 28 days prior to the survey rose from 18.3 million in 2016 to 21 million in 2020. The numbers show no sign of slowing and have risen beyond 24 million as of 2021.
Health benefits of biophilia workouts
We all know that fresh air is good for us. Just being outside in a park or woodland has a regenerative and calming effect on our bodies and minds. In fact, research shows that spending just two hours in a forest can help regulate the nervous system.
With that in mind, who wouldn’t want to combine those benefits with what you can gain from moving the body?
When you start exercising in a green space you can expect to feel:
- A reduction in stress responses.
- A fresh and open sensation in your lungs.
- Improvements in your general sense of well-being.
- A sense of connection to something bigger than you.
- A deeper connection to the natural world.
- Memory, mood, and cognition improvement.
- Reduced inflammation.
- Improved immunity.
Working out indoors vs working out outdoors
So we know that spending time in nature is proven to be good for us. But will we get better fitness results from it?
If you are looking to get shredded fast and know you need a consistent weight training regime to hit your gains, then using a strictly biophilia workout schedule might not be quite right for you.
However, there is some research that suggests that working out in nature allows you to train for longer. Meaning more reps, longer runs, and stronger workouts.
A 2019 study showed that while the physical differences between indoor and outdoor workouts weren’t vastly different; the mental shifts were.
Social interaction was significantly higher, as was the attention given to the exercise. Participants also reported that they were more likely to continue with the outdoor workouts.
A breath of fresh air
With more and more people taking to the great outdoors to workout, large gym chains have followed suit by offering a range of their classes outside. There are also clubs which meet in local parks and offer HIIT workouts complete with heavy equipment like dumbbells and free weights.
After years of feeling confined to the weights room in stuffy gyms, having the opportunity to workout outside is a breath of fresh air to many.
How to get into biophilia workouts as a beginner
If you’ve never exercised with others, it can feel intimidating to look at a group of people doing a class outside. If joining an outdoor exercise club is too much for you then try some easy biophilia workouts in your local park or woodland.
You could create a biophilia HIIT circuit for yourself. Try combining burpees, sprints and squats in a private corner of your neighborhood park. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds at your highest intensity then rest for one minute before completing another set. Try for 3-5 sets.
When you feel ready, you’ll get the most out of a biophilia workout when you exercise with others. You could join a local group, or form one of your own with friends. It’s always easier to stick to fitness goals and commitments when you train with others.
You can also perform low intensity biophilia workouts like walking with a little added weight to a backpack, or gentle yoga in the park, woodland or any other green space. There is no wrong or right way of exercising in nature.
Take the time to appreciate nature as you move your body in the great outdoors. Try doing push-ups against a tree and notice how the bark feels under your fingertips. Do your sit-ups next to a beautiful flower bed and notice how the stems move in the breeze as you rise to meet them. Take deep breaths, notice the clouds and enjoy the beauty of all the flora and fauna that surrounds us.