10 valuable life lessons exercising in nature can teach us

For many people, fitness isn’t just confined to four walls or on the pavements of cities.

It’s a journey that can be taken in the great outdoors in the raw beauty of nature, offering experiences that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Here are 10 profound life lessons that only the vastness of nature can teach you.

1) The beauty of simplicity

People who exercise in nature know that life doesn’t need to be complicated to be enjoyable. They replace fancy gym equipment with simple yet effective exercises like walking, running, swimming, or cycling.

They understand that the satisfaction of reaching the top of a hill, the thrill of swimming in a lake, or the peace found in a quiet forest jog can offer more than any high-tech machine.

This simplicity extends beyond their workout routine and into other aspects of their life, reminding them to appreciate the simple pleasures and moments that make life truly rich.

2) Resilience is key

Outdoor exercisers know a thing or two about resilience. When they’re halfway up a challenging trail or caught in a sudden downpour, they can’t just quit—they have to push through.

They learn that life, like nature, is unpredictable and often challenging. But instead of giving up when things get tough, they adapt and keep going. This resilience helps them not just in their workouts, but in their personal and professional lives too.

It teaches them to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and to never give up, no matter what.

3) The power of solitude

There’s something incredibly powerful about being alone with your thoughts in the great outdoors. When I go for walks in nature, far from the buzz of city life and technology I feel a profound sense of peace and clarity that can only come from solitude.

In those quiet moments, I am able to reflect on my life, my choices, and my dreams without any distractions of our busy world. Spending time alone in nature isn’t lonely; it’s a chance to connect with yourself on a deeper level.

Now, whenever life gets too chaotic, I know that a solitary walk or run in nature is just what I need to clear my head and rejuvenate my spirit.

4) Nature is a natural stress reliever

Nature lovers who break a sweat outdoors have tapped into an amazing stress-busting secret. Research has shown that spending time in nature can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, reduce blood pressure, and improve mood.

So, not only are these outdoor exercisers staying fit physically, but they’re also giving their mental health a major boost. A run through the park or a bike ride along a scenic trail can do wonders in melting away the stress of the day.

Nature is not just their gym; it’s their therapist too.

5) The joy of being present

Those who exercise in nature know the power of living in the moment. When you’re outdoors, you can’t help but become fully immersed in the here and now. You feel the wind on your skin, hear the crunch of leaves underfoot, see the sunlight filtering through the trees and smell the freshness of the earth.

These experiences create a deep connection with the world around you, making you truly appreciate the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life isn’t just about rushing from one task to another, but about enjoying each moment as it comes. Every outdoor workout becomes a lesson in mindfulness, teaching us to slow down and savour life’s simple joys.

6) Embracing change

I used to work out in the gym where the settings of the treadmill were within my control, and I knew what to expect. But then, I started running outdoors.

Suddenly, I was exposed to varying weather conditions, changing seasons, and different terrains. Initially, it was tough. But then I began to enjoy the unpredictability. I learned to adapt and even look forward to changes – a hot sunny day could turn into a breezy evening or a rainy afternoon could leave behind a beautiful rainbow.

This experience taught me to embrace change, not just during my workouts, but in the challenges life brings too. I am also more easily able to step outside of my comfort zone.

7) Nature inspires creativity

Exercising in nature isn’t just good for the body; it’s a boon for the brain too. An interesting fact is that a Stanford University study found that walking in nature can boost creativity by up to 60%.

People who exercise outdoors regularly know this firsthand. They find that the open spaces, the fresh air, and the beautiful surroundings spark new ideas and fuel their imagination.

Be it solving a problem at work, coming up with a new project idea, or finding inspiration for a creative hobby, a workout in nature often provides the mental breakthrough they need.

8) Nature teaches humility

On one of my recent hikes, I remember standing at the peak of a mountain, looking down at the sprawling landscape below. I was physically small in comparison to the vastness of nature around me.

It was a humbling experience, to realize that despite our human achievements and advancements, we are a small part of a much larger universe. Whenever life’s victories make me too proud or its troubles seem too big, I take a walk outside.

The beauty of nature puts everything into perspective, reminding me to stay grounded. It’s a lesson in humility that only nature can teach you.

9) The highs and lows are part of the journey

People who exercise in nature know that not every workout is going to be a walk in the park. Some days, you’ll feel on top of the world, conquering every hill with ease. Other days, a simple jog can feel like running a marathon.

Nature will throw challenges at you – fierce winds, sudden showers, harsh sun, or steep trails. But here’s the thing – it’s okay. The highs and lows are part of the journey. They teach us that life isn’t about striving for constant perfection but embracing the ups and downs as they come.

10) It’s not a competition

In a gym, it’s easy to compare yourself with others – who’s lifting heavier, running faster or looking fitter. But in nature, the only competition is with yourself. When I’m out there, it’s just me, my breath, and the path ahead.

I’m not trying to outrun anyone else; I’m trying to outrun my own doubts and limitations. This has taught me a valuable lesson – life isn’t about competing with others but about becoming a better version of myself each day.

With each step taken in the great outdoors, it’s more than just a workout routine. It’s a way of life that can teach us resilience, humility, mindfulness and so much more.



Jeanette Brown

I have been in Education as a teacher, career coach and executive manager over many years.
I'm also an experienced coach who is passionate about supporting people in finding real meaning and purpose in their lives, building a resilient, grounded inner self and achieving their desired goals.

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