Green Exercise - What is it? And why is it important?
Green Exercise is the term given to physical activity that occurs in natural, outdoor spaces. It could be hiking through the mountains, kayaking on a lake, walking along the beach, cycling through a park...the list goes on.
While it is pretty well established that exercise and physical activity are beneficial to our health, we are starting to learn more about the benefits of moving our bodies within natural spaces. Of course this is not a new concept. People have been moving their bodies within natural environments for as long as human life has existed. However, in recent times we are spending more time indoors and our lives are growing increasingly sedentary. This body of research therefore comes at a good time, and can hopefully reconnect us with our roots in order to protect our health and well-being.
Within the research, it seems the most significant benefits that arise at the intersection of nature and movement, are improvements in mental health. Being active in nature is associated with improvements in mood, self esteem, attention and concentration and reductions in depression, anxiety, stress, anger and sadness. One particular study found that being active in a natural space, once per week, halved the risk for poor mental health. And what's even more promising, is that even a really small amount of Green Exercise is shown to have significant benefits. In fact the greatest improvement in mood is seen during the first five minutes! This is great news for anyone facing time pressures, which is a lot of us!
There is a lot of very cool, very positive information about Green Exercise, and because it happens to be one of my favourite topics, I decided to create a guide dedicated to 'going green'! The guide is free, and in it you will find evidence-based content on the benefits of Green Exercise along with activities and specific information on how to 'go green'. If you would like a copy, just click on the image of the guide!
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
M.Clin.Ex.Phys (Rehab), AEP, AES, ESSAM