Monday, May 3, 2010

Exercise in the outdoors

I had a post on this a little while ago (Get your greens). Interesting to see another similar study reported in the BBC.

It all makes a lot of sense. This is what we are built for - movement in a real outdoor, stimulating environment makes you happier.

There is a good press release here:

“You get a very substantial benefit from the first five minutes. We should be encouraging people in busy and stressed environments to get outside regularly, even for short bits of time,” says Pretty. After that, increased green exercise continues to add benefit, but with decreasing returns. However, a full day of activity causes another spike in the level of benefit. Both healthy people and those with mental health disorders benefited, with the mentally ill showing the strongest improvement in self-esteem.

What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis
Green exercise is activity in the presence of nature. Evidence shows it leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes. This multistudy analysis assessed the best regime of dose(s) of acute exposure to green exercise required to improve self-esteem and mood (indicators of mental health). The research used meta-analysis methodology to analyze 10 UK studies involving 1252 participants. Outcomes were identified through a priori subgroup analyses, and dose−responses were assessed for exercise intensity and exposure duration. Other subgroup analyses included gender, age group, starting health status, and type of habitat. The overall effect size for improved self-esteem was d = 0.46 (CI 0.34−0.59, p < 0.00001) and for mood d = 0.54 (CI 0.38−0.69, p < 0.00001). Dose responses for both intensity and duration showed large benefits from short engagements in green exercise, and then diminishing but still positive returns. Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood; the presence of water generated greater effects. Both men and women had similar improvements in self-esteem after green exercise, though men showed a difference for mood. Age groups: for self-esteem, the greatest change was in the youngest, with diminishing effects with age; for mood, the least change was in the young and old. The mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements. This study confirms that the environment provides an important health service.


Todd Hargrove said...


Great info thanks.

The Homebody said...

I like exercising outdoors because I know I'm gonna get the benefit of fresh air along with the scenery.

Hans Hageman said...

Conversely, I wonder what the increasing and cumulative effect of "nature deficit disorder" has on children who then grow up to inhabit a cubicle?

Sterling Purdy said...

Just another reason why recess OUTSIDE is crucial to kids during the school year AND another reason to turn off the computer, xbox, ps3, and tv and send your kids outside, take them on a bike ride or a hike.