“Green Exercise” is good for the mind

Fresh-air fitness

UK researchers are claiming that just five minutes of exercise in a park or other “green space” can boost a person’s mental health.

According to the latest analysis, combining activities such as walking, jogging or cycling with a natural area can increase your well-being, vastly improving your general mood and self-esteem.

The BBC have released the results of this study from the Environmental Science and Technology journal, who have suggested that the strongest impact of this combination of exercise and “green space” was felt by the younger generations.

Five minutes of walking, cycling, fishing or horse riding (among other activities) gave participants an immense feeling of well-being. Longer periods of exercise in a green environment gave continued positive effects, but the magnitude of these effects was much smaller.

Earth and Water

Further research showed that a greater effect was seen when exercise was conducted in an environment that also contained water – such as a river or lake.

Study leader and researcher at the University of Essex, Jules Pretty, claimed that those who were stressed or suffering with a form of mental illness could potentially benefit most from this “green exercise”.

Paul Framer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, also showed support for this research, saying:

‘It’s important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate.’

Well, it’s got to be better than sweating it out on a treadmill in your living room, hasn’t it? What good could possibly come of staring at the reflection of your hot, red face in the TV – knowing that a kitchen full of junk food is just in the next room?

I say out with the in, and in with the out!