The ACAI Blog

How the outdoors can become your happy place

by Sophie Ingram on May 03, 2024

How the outdoors can become your happy place

“The best part about the outdoors is you don’t have to ‘fit in’ - there is quite literally space for everyone.”

Sophie Ingram, founder of @revert_fitness, tells us more about her challenging relationship with movement growing up and how now, the outdoors has become her happy place.

I grew up fearing anything ‘fitness’ related, and the thought of combining said fitness-related things with doing them out in the wilderness (aka anywhere outside, in public) was more anxiety inducing than hitting ‘reply-all’ on an all-staff email.

I spent most of my teenage years comparing myself to my older sister, wishing I was more like her. Prettier, thinner, more ‘sporty’, more ‘able’... (spoiler - she’s now my best friend and at the ripe old age of 33, comparing myself to her is quite literally never on my to-do list). 

However, when I was younger, this comparison fuelled my already existing insecurities. Insecurities that told me that I wasn’t good enough, fit enough or capable enough to do anything active - especially anything that involved being active outdoors.

Heading for the hills, climbing mountains and god for forbid going for a run, are all athletic pursuits right? Oh how I couldn’t have been more wrong.

‘Being made for the outdoors’

I always had a theory that some people are just made for things. That some people were simply just made for the outdoors (like they were somehow born in a 2-man tent halfway up Everest) and that was that. I never felt made for anything active, I just really felt like I didn’t fit into the outdoor world, and it completely deterred me from trying anything, that ironically now, I get so much enjoyment out of.

The best part of finding so much joy through movement has been discovering that the outdoors is just this incredibly non-judgmental, safe place where anyone is welcome. You don’t have to ‘fit in’ - there is quite literally space for everyone. 

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because, I think… in fact, I know, that as women, we are forever judging ourselves and comparing ourselves (thanks social media for throwing fuel on that already toasty fire). So yes, I’m here to tell you - you are not alone. But I’m also here to celebrate that wonderfully non-judgmental space with you, and let you know that I was once too scared to step into it too.

Mind & Body

Discovering a whole new world of movement outdoors has been both literally and metaphorically, a breath of fresh air, for my mental and physical health. It’s no secret that alongside the physical benefits, connecting with nature comes with a heap of mental health benefits too.

“There’s no rule book out here”

I whole-heartedly believe that we are all made for the outdoors. You know that feeling when you step outside on a sunny day and the warmth hits your face and you just - breathe? It’s that feeling - that joy, that pocket of calm amongst life’s chaos that tells you - you do have a place here, and reaffirms that it feels pretty good out here too!

I think the best part of it all though, is that there’s no rule book out here. You don’t need to climb mountains or shout about your Strava stats to be accepted, because everyone has a place. But do you want to know what’s kind of cool too? You probably can climb mountains and hit Strava stats you never thought possible, once you step outside and take in all the endless possibilities the great outdoors has to offer.

A walk in the park

The well-known phrase which couldn’t be more apt when it comes to the great outdoors. Getting outside, believing you absolutely do and can fit in, really is a walk in the park. Plus, it can quite literally be just that too. 

Whether it’s catching up with friends for a walk and a coffee, a Sunday morning stroll to brunch, running around the park after the kids, or maybe it is an 8-hour hike or a 5-day trek in the wilderness - the outdoors quite literally awaits.

It’s all movement, it’s all hugely beneficial to your mental and physical wellbeing, and it’s all so so enjoyable when you remove any expectation and pressure from it. 

So, to all the wonderful women reading this - let’s ditch the comparison, the worry you’re not ‘made’ for the outdoors. Set aside the self-judgment that niggles you, and remind yourself that you don’t need to try and ‘fit in’ here, because put simply - you already do. 

Make sure you check Sophie out at @revert_fitness and her website here!

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