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‘Green’ Exercise Can Offer Added Health Benefits

'Green' Exercise Can Offer Added Health BenefitsNew research from the UK finds that children exposed to scenes of nature while exercising are more likely to experience health-enhancing effects after their activity.

In the study, researchers asked kids aged nine to 10 years old to complete a series of 15-minute moderate intensity cycling activities, one while viewing a video of a forest track synced to the exercise bike and another with no visual stimulus.

Investigators found that after the “green exercise,” the children’s post-activity blood pressure was significantly lower than it was without the simulated forest environment, indicating that the nature scenes promoted positive health effects.

Data showed that the children’s mean systolic blood pressure — the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats — was 97.2 mmHg a quarter of an hour after green exercise, compared with 102.7 mmHg after normal activity (over five percent lower).

Lower blood pressure is normally associated with a lower risk of developing health problems, whereas high blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Prior studies have found that outdoor exercise improves mental well-being and is associated with greater enjoyment and satisfaction.

The Coventry University study is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

“Hypertension is a chronic health problem across the world, so given the results we’ve seen in our study it’s crucial that we continue to try to understand the role physical activity and — in particular — green exercise plays in blood pressure,” said sports and exercise researcher Michael Duncan, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

“If there is indeed a correlation between viewing scenes of nature and a lower blood pressure post-exercise, as indicated by our data, it could have very positive implications in encouraging public health practitioners to prescribe outdoor exercise to reduce health risk.”

Source: Coventry University

 
Child biking on a forest path photo by shutterstock.

‘Green’ Exercise Can Offer Added Health Benefits

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). ‘Green’ Exercise Can Offer Added Health Benefits. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/08/green-exercise-can-offer-added-health-benefits/68237.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.