CrossFit Eudokia, the biophilic box

Meyken Houppermans
Founder and Head Coach
CrossFit Eudokia Life science & Healthy Ageing Academy is an inclusive  box with an evidence based no nonsense approach and a biophilic design.  A biophilic design means, in a nutshell, that we have brought certain aspects  from nature inside our box to create the perfect conditions for you to become  the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of yourself. In this article we  explain what biophilic exactly is and what the benefits are for your physical  and mental health and performance.

What is biophilic?

Biophilic refers to the concept whereby the building environment we  live in, is connected to the natural environment through the use of direct  and indirect nature and space and place. It is far more than just putting a  plant on the counter. A biophilic environment is a well thought out concept  with significant benefits for your physical and mental health and  performance. Before we dive deeper into why and how CrossFit Eudokia has  implemented this biophilic concept into the box and what the benefits are for  health and performance, we need to take a little sidestep to explain how our  environment affects our health in general.

How does our environment affect our health?

CrossFit Eudokia is an Academy. We focus on working hard and learning  with and from each other to become the healthiest, fittest and strongest  version of ourselves. Some aspects that influence our health are fully within  our control, such as what we eat and how much we exercise. But some aspects  are only partially within our control, and some not at all. Such as the  influence of the environment we live in. The influence of environmental  aspects takes place at different levels, or better said, we can distinguish  different levels of environments that affect our health, directly and  indirectly. How does that work?

First level: our individual mini- environment

You could consider yourself an individual mini- environment. Some  aspects of your individual mini- environment that affect your health are  within your control, such as what you eat and if you do CrossFit regularly.  Yet, some aspects are not within your control, such as your genetic  predisposition. Being born with a genetic medical condition influences your  health. Or having a genetic higher susceptibility to become overweight under  certain circumstances, such as living in an unhealthy neighborhood. Another  interesting example is your personality, which is hardly changeable or within  your control. Some personality types are more susceptible to stress related  health issues if they live in a stressful environment. As you see, you do not  control all aspects of your individual mini- environment that affect your  health. And some of these aspects only affect your health if they are  triggered by a certain type of external environment.

Second level: our social environment

The second level that influences your health is your social  environment: your network. Also, not something fully within your control. For  example, the degree to which your friends and family support your weight loss  journey will affect your discipline and motivation to stick to your diet.

The influence of your social environment on your health can be  indirect (having supportive friends helps us to stick to our healthy eating  regime, which helps to become healthier) but also direct: Having supportive  friends and a dog lowers our blood pressure, which is a marker of good  health.

Our social environment also refers to the socio- economic status of  our neighborhood. This also influences your health. A good example is the  associated relation between your bodyweight and the backlog of your  neighborhood. The poorer the neighborhood, the higher the likelihood of being  overweight. As you see, most aspects of your social environment are not fully  within your control but they do influence your health.

Third level: our economic, political and  physical environment

The economic environment refers to the availability and affordability  of healthy choices. Such as if there is a CrossFit box in the neighborhood to  go to; if the kids get a healthy lunch at school; or if vegetables and fruit  are affordable at the local supermarket. The political environment refers to  safety and legislation, such as a sugar tax or a ban on smoking.

The physical environment refers to the built environment (made by man)  and to the natural environment (nature). The design of your physical  environment can influence your health in numerous ways. For example, if there  are no parks or other green recreational areas in the neighborhood, there is  less opportunity to go outside for fresh air and exercise. And if there are  no safe sidewalks, you will probably take your car more often than go for a  walk. The influence of the physical environment on your health also refers to air and noise pollution that affects your physical and mental health.

Our environment can have a huge impact on our health, directly and  indirectly and at different levels, and it is only partially or not at all  within your control.

Maximize your chances by creating optimal conditions

Now that we know that our health is under the influence of a broad  variety of aspects of which only a small number is within our control,  wouldn’t it be smart to optimize those aspects that are within our control  and thereby optimize our chances to become the healthiest, fittest and  strongest version of ourselves?

Why waist energy on things we cannot control?  Exactly that is why at Crossfit Eudokia, we have created the optimal  environmental conditions for you to reach your potential in health and  fitness, by implementing a biophilic design.

Why and how has CrossFit Eudokia implemented biophilic?

We spend more than 85% of our time inside and in 2050 more then half  of the world is expected to be urbanized. We spend less time in nature and  there is less nature. Spending less time in nature is associated with  exercising less. And exercising less is associated with a sedentary unhealthy  lifestyle and higher risk for chronic diseases. Not to mention the effects of  living in an urbanized environment for our health, as briefly discussed  above.

Spending time in nature can have great health benefits. Medical  symptoms related to stress and mental health issues can be treated by  spending more time in nature. Research demonstrates that spending time in a  forest has benefits for our cognitive functioning, immune system, blood  glucose levels in diabetic patients, blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases,  cancer, pain treatment and recovery after a medical procedure.

Unfortunately it is not always possible to spend time in a forest and  benefit from nature. Simply because we don’t have that time or there is no forest  nearby. The biophilic concept is the perfect solution. By connecting nature  to our interior, we can get similar health benefits! Such as lower levels of  physiological stress, better brain functioning, higher productivity and  performance and enhanced well-being.

Why did CrossFit Eudokia choose a biophilic design?

First, a biophilic design enhances well-being, health and performance  and that is exactly what we aim for at CrossFit Eudokia. We focus on coaching  you to become the healthiest, fitters and strongest version of yourself. With  a biophilic design we have created the perfect conditions for you to  unleashing your potential.

Second, we are an Academy. We focus on personal growth and learning  with and from each other. In order to grow, we must be brave enough to be  vulnerable. Learning means trying, failing, practicing, trying again and  eventually succeeding and celebrating. In order to feel free enough to do  that, to just be yourself and go flat on our face, stand up and try again, we  must feel safe and supported. Being part of the great CrossFit Eudokia  community makes us feel supported and it is known that a biophilic design has  a strengthening effect on social bonds. Feeling safe means being in an  environment that eases our mind, that makes us feel in balance and that feels  ‘natural, logic and sound’. (same as the functional movement in CrossFit!:  they feel natural, logic, sound). That is CrossFit Eudokia’s biophilic  designed box.

Third, is the fun historic detail. We are CrossFit Eudokia,  which is ancient Greek for what is good or beneficial to someone and is  highly regarded. Eudokia lived around the same time in history as the  mythical Hanging Gardens, of which descriptions were found in ancient Greek.  The concept of biophilic goes back to these Hanging Gardens, which is one of  the seven world wonders.

How has CrossFit Eudokia implemented biophilic and what are benefits for your health and performance?

As mentioned earlier, biophilic refers to the use of direct and indirect nature and space and place for benefits in physical and mental  health and performance.

 -          Natural landscape and fresh air for  performance and health

The direct experience of nature means that when you are at CrossFit  Eudokia you are able to breathe in fresh air from outside and feel the  natural ventilation and temperature. This experience promotes comfort and  productivity. You can also see and hear the weather outside and that promotes  mental stimulation. The natural landscape in our design, with plants, animals  and natural light increase our feelings of satisfaction, increases our  physical and mental health  and wellbeing,  it increases our performance and it lowers stress. 

-          Natural materials and colors for mental focus  and energy

The indirect experience of nature means that CrossFit Eudokia uses  natural materials and fabrics such as high quality sustainable wood, rubber,  leather, stone, cork and bamboo as much as possible. Natural materials are  mentally stimulating because they change over time, as do we! The natural  earthy colors at CrossFit Eudokia stimulate a mental state of energy, balance  and focus. 

-          Welcome, safe and challenging to enhance  wellbeing

Experiences of space and place refer to on the one hand the natural,  welcome and safe environment of CrossFit Eudokia, with safe in a physical,  mental and emotional sense. On the other hand the experiences of space and  place refer to movements, challenges and stimuli incorporated in CrossFit  Eudokia’s workouts. Experiences of space and place enhance our wellbeing. 

Experience it yourself!

CrossFit Eudokia Life Science & Healthy Ageing Academy is all  about your well-being, by giving your high quality coaching and creating the  perfect conditions for you to unleash your potential and become the  healthiest, fittest and strongest version of yourself! Experience the benfits  of our biophilic design yourself, you are more than welcome!

Create your own health!© 

 This  article is based on several sources including Beatley et al (2011). Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature  into Urban Design and Planning; Beatley et al (2013). Biophilic Cities Are Sustainable, Resilient Cities; Boekhout (2018). The obesogenic environment; Boekhout et al (2018). Health  behavior: Interaction between individual and environment; Gray et al (2014). Are biophilic-designed  site office buildings linked to health benefits and high performing  occupants?  Kellert.  (2018). Nature by Design:  The Practice of Biophilic Design;  Kellert et al (2015). The Practice of biophilic design; Lee (2017). Health  and well-being benefits of spending time in forests: systematic review; Loureiro  et al (2017). Green exercise, health and well-being; Nijkamp (2018) The  interaction between the individual and the environment theoretically  explained;  Ryan et al (2014).  Biophilic Design  Parameters: Emerging Nature-Based Parameters for Health and Well-Being in the  Built Environment; Yin et al (2019). Effects  of biophilic interventions in office on stress reaction and  cognitive function: A randomized crossover study in virtual reality.