More and more companies are promoting the outdoor lifestyle. “Nature Smart” brands are educating consumers on the benefits of nature. It used to be that the person who served as the poster child for this idea was more of a modern-day hippie than a corporate CEO. They would literally shout from the mountaintops. All of that continues to change.
REI (Recreational Equipment, Incorporated) is one of those brands that literally walks the talk. Founded in 1938, REI is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumers’ cooperative. REI sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment and clothing.
REI has worked to awaken a lifelong love for the outdoors in their members. Today, nearly 80 years later, the co-op has grown from 23 climbing friends to a community of more than 17 million members.
Each year, they close on Black Friday to ensure that their employees spend time outdoors, all part of their #OptOutside campaign. Even bigger, REI is partnering with the University of Washington to the tune of a $1 million donation to a new academic initiative called “Nature for Health.” The idea is to build a mountain of data surrounding the health benefits of living a life outside.
There are more exercise classes and indoor programming than ever before, but the big box gyms are not the only game in town. Indoor classes are often costly. Outdoor movement has a new term that is spreading globally: “green exercise.” Green exercise is a term that describes working out in the outdoors. Many find that green exercise lowers blood pressure, increases creativity, decreases depression, and increases blood flow.
Biofit, an organic fitness company based in London, has invested in biophilic design and also teaches many classes outdoors. Most importantly, they educate others on why our bodies are meant to move outdoors.
Some people practice yoga outdoors. The mindful practice of walking or hiking in nature is “yoga for the brain.” Look for more traditional fitness outlets turning their attention outdoors.