The Importance of Green Exercise

Outdoor sports improve mental health

It is official! working out, outside, can not only keep you physically in shape, but it can also improve your mental health and well- being.

Dr Jo Barton, a sport scientist and colleague Jules Pretty, studied more than 1,200 people's reactions to 'green' exercise. Their findings, which are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, state that there was a significant increase in people’s self-esteem and mood. Dr Barton adds that this is particularly true when exercise was taken in the wilderness or near water.

There is now call for doctors to prescribe ‘green exercise’ for patients suffering from a range of mental health issues.

The most astonishing part of the research is that just 5 minutes of this outdoor exercise, is said to have dramatic effects on mood and self-esteem. This is the first time that any research has been conducted as to the length of time one must spend doing this activity before seeing results.

Dr Barton, who conducted the study for the University of Essex said that, as well as protecting against future health threats, outdoor exercise could even increase life expectancy.

So what are we waiting for- I’ll get my trainers...

See our Fitness section for more information on how exercise can help improve your mental health.

Published in Uncovered Magazine October 2010 issue 1

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