A scientific review has carried out an analysis of existing research and come to the conclusion that there are more benefits to physical and mental well-being from exercising in a natural environment. The researchers analyzed data from a variety of sources which included 11 randomized and non-randomized control studies making use of information from 833 individuals. Suitable studies were the ones which made a comparison with the benefits of outdoor exercise initiatives with those performed indoors and that reported one or more physical or mental well-being results.
The research found that the majority of studies confirmed an improvement in mental well-being: in comparison to exercising indoors, natural environment exercise activity was linked to increased energy, greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, along with decreases in confusion, tension, depression and anger. Individuals also reported greater satisfaction and enjoyment with outdoor exercise and reported they were more likely to exercise again in the future.
However, not one of the studies assessed the benefits of physical activity on physical well-being, and the impact of natural environments on adhering to exercise.
This analysis has revealed some encouraging effects on self reported mental well-being right after exercise in a natural environment, in contrast to those reported right after indoor exercise indoor. This is a 1st step on the way to vindicating the positive effects of programs like the Blue Gym and Green Gym, as well as innovative interventions by practitioners which include outdoor exercising as part of holistic treatments for those experiencing depression and similar mental conditions.
Researchers are currently working with a small number of good quality evidence, and 1 significant outcome from this research is the important need for there to be more studies of this type. Large, longer term studies in populations who could benefit most from the potential benefits of outdoor exercise are necessary to completely analyze the effects of outdoor exercise on physical and mental well-being. Research is also needed that measures the impact of such effects on the sustainability of exercising.
Some 75 % of the population now resides in urban environments, and increasing efforts are necessary to re connect individuals with nature by means of programs such as the Blue Gym and Green Gym. This analysis, which combines data from a broad selection of sources, adds important emphasis to the case for spending more time in nature as individuals and clinicians struggle to counteract the negative results of modern living like depression and obesity.
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