What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis

Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, U.K.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 03/2010; 44(10):3947-55. DOI: 10.1021/es903183r
Source: PubMed


Green exercise is activity in the presence of nature. Evidence shows it leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes. This multistudy analysis assessed the best regime of dose(s) of acute exposure to green exercise required to improve self-esteem and mood (indicators of mental health). The research used meta-analysis methodology to analyze 10 UK studies involving 1252 participants. Outcomes were identified through a priori subgroup analyses, and dose-responses were assessed for exercise intensity and exposure duration. Other subgroup analyses included gender, age group, starting health status, and type of habitat. The overall effect size for improved self-esteem was d = 0.46 (CI 0.34-0.59, p < 0.00001) and for mood d = 0.54 (CI 0.38-0.69, p < 0.00001). Dose responses for both intensity and duration showed large benefits from short engagements in green exercise, and then diminishing but still positive returns. Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood; the presence of water generated greater effects. Both men and women had similar improvements in self-esteem after green exercise, though men showed a difference for mood. Age groups: for self-esteem, the greatest change was in the youngest, with diminishing effects with age; for mood, the least change was in the young and old. The mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements. This study confirms that the environment provides an important health service.

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    • "Researchers tend to agree , that urban green spaces have a ( Escobedo , Kroeger , & Wagner , 2011; Nowak , Crane , & Stevens , 2006 ), reducing noise ( Pathak , Tripathi , & Mishra , 2011 ) , regulating temperature ( Gabriel & Endlicher , 2011 ; Hamada & Ohta , 2010 ) , and have the potential to promote and preserve biodiversity ( Alvey , 2006 ; Kowarik , 2011 ) . Urban green spaces also have been shown to have a positive effect on physical and mental health ( Barton & Pretty , 2010 ; Bowler , Buyung - Ali , Knight , & Pullin , 2010 ; Grahn & Stigsdotter , 2010 ; Lee & Maheswaran , 2011 ; Tzoulas et al . , 2007 ; R S Ulrich , 1984 ; van den Berg , Maas , Verheij , & Groenewegen , 2010 ) and provide a place for recreational ( Arnberger , 2006 ) or health promoting activities ( Babey , Hastert , Yu , & Brown , 2008 ; Cohen et al . "
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    ABSTRACT: Can different types of greenery improve the perceived value, safety, prestige, coziness, and aesthetics of multistory residential buildings? To find the answer, two studies were carried out. In Study 1, participants filled in questionnaires designed to measure the perceived value, safety, prestige, coziness, and aesthetics of a building. Every questionnaire was accompanied with one of four images of the same residential building, the only difference between them was the type of greenery present near the building. Participants were asked to evaluate the building in the image by filling in the questionnaire. A convenience sample of 238 university students (mean age 20, SD = 2) participated in the experiment. Study 2 was an internet-based survey in which participants were presented with four images of a residential building and were asked to identify the most cozy, most expensive, most prestigious, most safe, and most aesthetic building. The pictures were the same as in Study 1. A snowball sample of 356 respondents (mean age 30, SD = 11) participated in the survey. The results indicate that buildings with sophisticated greenery and plain grass greenery are perceived most favorably, while unkempt and chaotic greenery were found to be associated with worse overall perceptions and decreased perceived value of residential property. When creating green spaces near residential buildings, we recommend considering plain grass greenery as it is the most cost-effective solution and has a positive effect on the perceptions of residential property and its value.
    08/2015; 1(1 11):22-31. DOI:10.13165/SIIW-15-1-1-03
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    • "In terms of psychological resilience, no " pure " nearby outdoor recreation variable but only an index variable comprehending (leisure time spent for) outdoor recreation in all spatial scales (green around the house, recreation area outside the region) contributed to explanation of variance (1.5% out of an overall 12.9%). These long-term effects are considerably lower than the short-term effects of visits to natural environments on emotional well-being that have been measured in a number of experimental studies (Barton & Pretty, 2010; Bowler et al., 2010; Martens et al., 2011), in which the confounding variables are implicitly controlled. "
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    ABSTRACT: With the shift to a service based society, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation that enables mental and physiological self-regulation has become an increasingly important landscape function. Recent research has provided considerable evidence that visits to near-natural everyday landscapes promote psychological and physical health. However, little is so far known about the effects of people's regular outdoor recreation in their local natural environment on their well-being and, in particular, on their psychological resilience. In our project we address this research gap by investigating nearby outdoor recreation behaviour in three urbanized regions in Switzerland, each of which has a different predominant culture and language (German, French and Italian speaking). A standardized questionnaire was sent to a random sample of residents (N=1200) in each region. Stepwise regression supported the hypothesis that regular nearby outdoor recreation has a significant but rather marginal effect on respondents' reported well-being and their psychological resilience, even when systematically controlled. However, similar effect sizes, in particular in terms of psychological resilience, were found with other leisure activities. More generally, we found that well-being and psychological resilience were influenced by different factors, and that increasing psychological resilience mainly required a long duration of recreation or leisure activities. Management implications This paper provides robust evidence that urban inhabitants' regular outdoor recreation in the nearby natural environment has positive effects on their emotional well-being and their psychological resilience. The findings suggest that the quality of the nearby recreation area is at least an as important condition for these benefits as the easy access to these areas. Inhabitants' satisfaction with the recreation area, their activity level within the recreation areas as well as the time spent in the recreation areas appeared to be more relevant predictors for these benefits than the frequency of visits in these areas. Accordingly, managers should invest as much resources in increasing the quality of the recreation areas as in improving their accessibility.
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    • "For example, green courtyard gardens in new residential community provide outdoor play spaces for children and teenagers, as well for elderly people (Wolch et al. 2014). Elderly men living in neighborhoods with more green spaces tend to have more participation in regular physical activities (Gong et al. 2014), which is believed important to mental and physical health (Barton and Pretty 2010). Even small amounts of green cover can protect health (Villeneuve et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Context Urban greenspace provides myriad ecosystem services. To fully understand the ecological services provided by urban greenspace, it is crucial to first accurately quantify the composition and configuration, and change of urban greenspace. Objectives (1) Quantify the dynamics of greenspace in highly urbanized areas. (2) Compare and evaluate the efficacy of medium and high resolution image data on quantifying urban greenspace dynamics. Methods Using two very well-developed urban districts of Beijing, we compare and contrast the changes in urban greenspace from 2005 to 2009 based on two different datasets, the most commonly used Landsat TM data with 30 m resolution, and 2.5 m high spatial resolution imagery. Results We found urban greenspace in the two well-developed urban districts of Beijing to be very dynamic, in contrast to findings from previous research that greenspace in inner cities tends to remain largely unchanged. Such dynamics, however, could only be revealed by high spatial resolution imagery because medium resolution data, such as TM data greatly underestimated the percent cover of greenspace. The underestimate neglects smaller elements of greenspace as well as changes in configuration of larger patches, limiting the ability of TM data to detect such changes. Conclusions Our results underscore the importance and necessity of using high spatial resolution data to adequately quantify the distribution of urban greenspace and its change. Results from this study have important implications for urban greenspace management and planning. In addition, the dynamics revealed support emerging conceptions of urban areas as hierarchical patch mosaics.
    Landscape Ecology 08/2015; 30(7). DOI:10.1007/s10980-015-0195-3 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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