[LINK] O/t: Well being

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun May 2 17:22:46 AEST 2010

'Green' exercise quickly boosts mental health  

BBC News, Saturday, 1 May 2010 00:01 UK

Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost 
mental health, researchers claim.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or 
cycling with nature boosts well-being. 

In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 
people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem. 

The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested 
the strongest impact was on young people. 

The research looked at many different outdoor activities including 
walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming 
in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail. 

The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes. 

With longer periods of time exercising in a green environment, the 
positive effects were clearly apparent .. the study found. 

Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the 
health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the 

A bigger effect was seen with exercise in an area that also contained 
water - such as a lake or river. 

Study leader Jules Pretty, a researcher at the University of Essex, said 
those who were generally inactive, or stressed, or with mental illness 
would probably benefit the most from "green exercise". 

"We would like to see all doctors considering exercise where appropriate."

"Employers, for example, could encourage staff in stressful workplaces to 
take a short walk at lunchtime in the nearest park to improve mental 

He also said exercise programmes outdoors could benefit youth offenders. 

"A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical 
activity are easily stated, but rarely adopted widely." 

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said the 
research is yet further evidence that even a short period of green 
exercise can provide a low cost therapy to improve mental wellbeing. 



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