Don’t just exercise, do it outside

Runner in the park

The first step to becoming antifragile, the first skill of Inner Leadership, is the ability to remain centred and grounded at all times.

This comes when we deepen our self-awareness.

Two of the four recommended ways of achieving this are exercise and spending time in nature. We obtain maximum benefit when we combine the two.

Doctors in the UK and USA are increasingly writing prescriptions for outdoor activity.

Drug: exercise, Prescription: 45 mins daily

Doctors in Scotland are literally prescribing time in nature to their patients.

The UK has several outdoor exercise programmes, including Boot Camps and Green Gyms (which include activities such as planting trees). You can read about the top ten, here. In the USA there are at least 50 such programs. The Appalachian Mountain Club is also working with MassGeneral Hospital to prescribe regular outdoor physical activity for children.

In Australia people are exploring the health and medical benefits of their national parks. And the Japanese government recommends forest bathing.

You could also go on a long distance walk, such as a Camino. I recently met a man who had used walking a Camino to give him the space he needed to make an important investment decision. Another used the time to get clarity on a creative project.

On the one hand it might seem crazy that we have forgotten to do something as simple as taking exercise in nature. But on the other hand it works. People who take exercise outside lose weight and feel happier.

You can read more about it here. Or, instead of reading about it, you can make a choice (your body and mind will thank you for it and you will deepen your connection with yourself): this weekend, will you exercise, spend time in nature, or both?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Ludo Rouchy via

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