Something about the fresh air, warm weather and beautiful sunshine makes us want to spend some time outside as the spring weather makes its way here to stay. And a recent study gives us a good reason to make friends with the great outdoors.
Five minutes of getting outside, walking around the park (especially barefoot, also known as earthing), taking the dog for a quick jaunt, a few yoga moves on the beach… All will add benefit to our mental health.
Researches Jules Pretty and Jo Barton have dubbed “green exercise” as physical activity in the presence of nature. Their own scientific evidence, along with past research, shows that activity in this form decreases risks of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. We know this, too, by taking a walk on a beautiful day and often, how much it can better our mood.
The duo analyzed 1,252 people, all in different age, gender and health categories. They took them from ten previous studies, and determined the mental and physical health improvements from “green exercise”.
Activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming were among the exercises used. Large scale changes were found in young and mentally-ill participants, however, general changes were found right across the board. When the environments included water, the changes were even greater.
“We know from the literature that short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits,” Pretty explained.
“So we believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise,” Barton added.
It is just five minutes a day to improve your health – go on and do it! And tell us how you get your daily green exercise below!
Source: sciencedaily.com; adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society
Image courtesy of physicalactivityandnutritionwales.org.uk