Biophilia Exercise: Incorporating Nature Into Your Fitness Routine

Do you ever notice that you get an instant boost just from being outside? Enter biophilia exercise, the fitness craze that's all about appreciating the outdoors.
Portrait photo of happy senior Caucasian woman relaxing and breathing fresh air with sunlight in outdoors park. Elderly woman enjoying a day in the park on summer. Healthcare lifestyle and wellness

The term biophilia, broken down into its original Latin roots, means a love of life. It refers to the human need and desire for connection with the natural world. Exposure to nature has an incredibly beneficial effect on most of humankind. Known benefits include increased attention levels, lowered stress, and improved mood. It has even been associated with improved learning abilities through several studies. This has led many people to advocate for more green spaces in educational facilities and public spaces.

One of the newer fitness trends to gain popularity is biophilia exercise, also known as green exercise. This concept takes the idea of biophilia and extends it into the health and fitness arena. Exercise involving nature has been shown to be more calming. This reduces the perceived effort of the workout and makes it more enjoyable. People in this state can work out longer and handle greater intensity exercises.

Getting Outdoors for Biophilia Exercise

Mature Couple Hiking

There are many ways to practice biophilia exercise outdoors. After all, that’s where nature is! Whether it’s spending a couple of hours trekking through the forest, a yoga session at a local park, or doing cartwheels in your own backyard, getting active in nature has an overall positive effect. While most forms of exercise can be practiced outside, some activities are more suited to the outdoors.

Some of the more common outdoor exercises include:

Walking or Jogging

Healthy Adults

The difference between the physical benefits of indoor and outdoor walking or jogging is minimal. The calorie expenditure is roughly the same whether walking in nature or on a treadmill, as is the risk of injury to the hip and knee joints. The mental and emotional boost provided by exercising outdoors is more noticeable, however. People can often tolerate longer, more intense walks or jogs when exercising in nature. The positive energy boost from appreciating nature while exercising can also help encourage better fitness habits.


Exercise is good for cognitive health, woman riding her bike on the beach

Riding a stationary bike provides the same basic cardiovascular benefits as a typical bicycle but has a few significant drawbacks. For instance, the airflow at home and many gyms is often inferior compared to airflow outdoors. When you sweat outside, the circulating air helps to cool you down. Indoors, inferior airflow reduces the amount of cooling ability that your sweat provides. This can increase the chances of overheating and dehydration.

Outdoor biking also tends to work more muscle groups than riding a stationary bike. When riding outdoors, riders also make constant adjustments to their posture to account for steering, working more muscle groups. Incorporating nature into your ride could include anything from taking a leisurely ride through a neighborhood park to a more challenging mountain bike excursion through the forest.


Parkour is another exercise technique that has increased in popularity in recent years. It involves getting from one point to another in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Participants use athletic ability and gymnastic and martial art-inspired movement to avoid obstacles. The world around them becomes a giant obstacle course. While this discipline is frequently associated with urban settings, it is also practiced in natural spaces. Combining a parkour run through a forest with an appreciation for the natural environment would beautifully blend the discipline of parkour with the concept of biophilia exercise.


Woman doing yoga on the beach for exercise and hair growth

Another great way to incorporate nature into your exercise routine is to take your yoga routine outside. Those who prefer to practice yoga solo may benefit from moving their routine to their backyard, a quiet clearing, or a sheltered spot at the local park. Individuals who prefer a group setting should have no difficulty finding yoga classes that are held outdoors. There are even yoga classes that continue outdoors through the winter, though weather-appropriate clothing is advised.

Practicing yoga outdoors provides many of the same benefits as the previous exercises. It improves both mood and energy levels, allowing practitioners to exercise more effectively for a longer period of time. In addition, practicing yoga outdoors increases the intensity of the workout due to variations in the ground that aren’t present in a studio.

Bringing the Outdoors In for Biophilia Exercise

Full length front view of Caucasian woman with long gray hair photographed through open sliding glass door on exercise mat in seated spinal twist position.

Not only have many gyms and fitness studios opted to include fitness classes that are held out of doors, but some establishments have also decided to go a step further and bring nature into the gym itself. Although the idea is still in its infancy, a few gyms have chosen to redecorate their spaces to better reflect the human need for nature.

Companies like Biofit are determined to make the outdoors accessible to all with nature-enhanced indoor spaces that boast both an abundance of green, growing plants and natural materials like rope and wood, rather than metal or plastic. The trend to appeal to people’s natural biophilia seems to be most popular in spas and hotel exercise rooms for the moment.

Incorporating nature into your everyday exercise is a great way to get the most out of your fitness routine. Whether walking, running, stretching, or strength training, engaging in biophilia-based exercise helps to improve not only physical health but mental and emotional health, too.

Read More:

How To Boost Serotonin Naturally

Moving Your Workspace Outside

The Benefits of Ecotherapy, Mother Nature’s Healing Ability


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