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Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise
Date:2/4/2011

A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analysed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the leading research journal Environmental Science and Technology today, 4th February 2011.

The research team, supported by the NIHR Peninsula Collaboration in Leadership for Applied Health Research and Care (PenCLAHRC, part of the NIHR family of health and research initiatives) in collaboration with the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), analysed data from a number of sources including 11 randomised and non-randomised control trials incorporating information from 833 adults.

Eligible trials were those that compared the effects of outdoor exercise initiatives with those conducted indoors and which reported at least one physical or mental well-being outcome in adults or children.

The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

However, none of the identified studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being, or the effect of natural environments on sticking to exercise.

On balance this review has identified some promising effects on self-reported mental well-being immediately following exercise in the natural environment, as opposed to those reported following exercise indoors. This is a first step towards vindicating the positive effects of programmes such as the Green Gy
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Contact: Andrew Gould
andrew.gould@pcmd.ac.uk
44-139-268-6107
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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