Nature is good for more than just aesthetic backdrops. Get the lowdown on biophilia exercises and forest bathing and their proven benefits here
Emerging at the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic is the growing popularity of biophilia exercises. Biophilia refers to our instinctive desire to be with nature and other forms of life as a whole. Simply put, biophilia exercises are exercises done within nature, which more and more people have become drawn to now with the pandemic firmly behind us. This approach to fitness can also be linked to forest bathing, which is rooted in the idea that our physical and mental health is improved by spending quiet time in wooded areas.
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Indoor training facilities, home gyms, and fitness classes are not going away anytime soon—what with the comforts and convenience that air-conditioned spaces provide—but there are definitely plenty of benefits to adding biophilia exercises to your schedule.
The benefits of biophilia exercises
Exercise in itself is a mood booster due to the happy hormones your moving body produces, but exercising outdoors with nature and the open sky for company can double this effect. Not only can working out in green spaces reduce your stress levels and your odds of getting distracted, but biophilia exercises can also increase your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is good for decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as supporting your body’s immune function, among other benefits. Studies have also shown that outdoor gyms have a positive effect on adults meeting the World Health Organization’s physical activity recommendations.
The acknowledgment of the positive effects of nature on one’s health definitely isn’t a new trend as “shinrin-yoku,” a Japanese concept translated to “forest bathing,” posits that health and well-being can naturally be improved by bathing in the air of wooded areas. One study even concluded that a short two-hour forest bathing program is “a promising therapeutic method for enhancing heart rate and blood pressure functions, as well as an effective psychological relaxation strategy for middle-aged and elderly individuals.” Research further shows us that forest therapy sessions can help decrease anxiety symptoms.
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Outdoor workout ideas
If you’re just starting out with biophilia exercises and want to keep using fitness equipment to exercise, you can look into using outdoor gyms like The Playground at Manila Padel Club or public calisthenics parks. You can also keep an eye out for outdoor events like group fitness classes from your favorite studios if you want to keep to a structured and high-energy environment.
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Otherwise, we suggest doing more outdoor physical activities like trail running and hiking so that you can reap the combined benefits of exercising under the open sky and being inside forested areas. Another recommendation is to perform equipment-less workout routines like yoga and pilates in a safe green space instead of doing these in confined spaces.
Featured Image: BRANDON ESPIRITU (via Instagram)
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