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Running in Natural Spaces: Gender Analysis of Its Relationship with Emotional Intelligence, Psychological Well-Being, and Physical Activity

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Running is a complete and accessible physical exercise for the population, but little research has been done on the psychological and environmental variables related to its practice. The objective of this research was to determine how emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and body dissatisfaction are related to running in natural spaces for men and women. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 331 runners from 20 states of the Mexican Republic (55.3% women), between 18 and 80 years old (m = 37.4; SD = 11.5), with an average of 7 years running experience (SD = 9.3). The Brief Emotional Intelligence Inventory, the Psychological Well-Being Scale, and the Body Shape Questionnaire were used. The results show that men who run in natural spaces have greater psychological well-being and emotional intelligence (stress management) and less body dissatisfaction, and they run more days per week than those who run in built spaces. Predictors of running in natural spaces were greater psychological well-being and emotional intelligence (stress management). On the other hand, women who run in natural spaces show lower emotional intelligence (stress management) and run for more minutes per day. The predictors for running in natural spaces were identified as lower emotional intelligence (stress management), running for more minutes per day, and practicing another physical exercise. In conclusion, in this heterogeneous sample, natural environments are likely to be related to better performance and certain psychological indicators for runners. However, these relationships differ between men and women, so further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm our findings.
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Citation: Campos-Uscanga, Y.;
Reyes-Rincón, H.; Pineda, E.;
Gibert-Isern, S.; Ramirez-Colina, S.;
Argüelles-Nava, V. Running in
Natural Spaces: Gender Analysis of
Its Relationship with Emotional
Intelligence, Psychological
Well-Being, and Physical Activity. Int.
J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19,
Academic Editors: Kristy Howells
and Tara Coppinger
Received: 8 April 2022
Accepted: 13 May 2022
Published: 15 May 2022
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International Journal of
Environmental Research
and Public Health
Running in Natural Spaces: Gender Analysis of Its
Relationship with Emotional Intelligence, Psychological
Well-Being, and Physical Activity
Yolanda Campos-Uscanga 1, Hannia Reyes-Rincón1, Eduardo Pineda 2, Santiago Gibert-Isern 3,
SaraíRamirez-Colina 4and Vianey Argüelles-Nava 1,*
1Instituto de Salud Pública, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa 91190, Mexico; (Y.C.-U.); (H.R.-R.)
2Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados, Instituto de Ecología A.C., Xalapa 91070, Mexico;
3Dimensión Natural S.C., Coatepec 91608, Mexico;
Sistema de Atención Integral a la Salud, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa 91020, Mexico;
*Correspondence:; Tel.: +52-22-8841-8934
Running is a complete and accessible physical exercise for the population, but little research
has been done on the psychological and environmental variables related to its practice. The objective
of this research was to determine how emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and body
dissatisfaction are related to running in natural spaces for men and women. A cross-sectional study
was conducted on 331 runners from 20 states of the Mexican Republic (55.3% women), between 18
and 80 years old (m = 37.4; SD = 11.5), with an average of 7 years running experience (
SD = 9.3
). The
Brief Emotional Intelligence Inventory, the Psychological Well-Being Scale, and the Body Shape Ques-
tionnaire were used. The results show that men who run in natural spaces have greater psychological
well-being and emotional intelligence (stress management) and less body dissatisfaction, and they
run more days per week than those who run in built spaces. Predictors of running in natural spaces
were greater psychological well-being and emotional intelligence (stress management). On the other
hand, women who run in natural spaces show lower emotional intelligence (stress management)
and run for more minutes per day. The predictors for running in natural spaces were identified as
lower emotional intelligence (stress management), running for more minutes per day, and practicing
another physical exercise. In conclusion, in this heterogeneous sample, natural environments are
likely to be related to better performance and certain psychological indicators for runners. However,
these relationships differ between men and women, so further studies with larger sample sizes are
needed to confirm our findings.
health-promoting environments; green exercise; running; emotional intelligence;
psychological well-being; body dissatisfaction
1. Introduction
One of the main priorities in public health today is finding strategies to promote
physical activity, especially because of the evidence that its practice improves people’s
health. Physical exercise contributes to better health, disease prevention, and control of
chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and
obesity [
]. At the same time, it contributes to mental health by reducing anxiety, depression,
and stress and improving cognitive attributes, such as social skills, psychological well-
being, self-concept, self-esteem, and the ability to overcome traumatic circumstances [
Therefore, scientific evidence is needed to understand how physical exercise can help in
achieving better population health outcomes.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 2 of 10
Living on a street with vegetation is associated with a higher likelihood of using
active transportation (e.g., cycling) and walking; distance from green spaces is inversely
associated with the likelihood of physical activity [
]. Additionally, those who perform
physical activity in natural spaces report greater enjoyment [
], so one can assume that
the environment is an extrinsic motivator for physical activity, being key both to starting
and continuing with its practice [
]. Similarly, exposure to urban green spaces has been
found to have a negative association with mortality, heart rate, and violence, and a positive
association with physical activity, attention, and mood [6].
The evidence available today shows that the benefits of physical activity are not
limited to humans, as green exercise can also lead to the protection and sustainability of
natural environments and promote planetary health. Green exercise makes it possible to
increase the population’s physical activity, while also reducing the environmental impact of
human activities [
]. Increased physical activity in natural spaces, together with educational
processes leading to respect and care for the environment, result in a rise in the value that
people assign to these spaces and, consequently, in an increase in the care for the species
that inhabit such spaces. Additionally, they encourage active mobility and reduce the
number of motor vehicles used for transportation, thus reducing environmental pollution
and traffic accidents, as well as improving efforts to mitigate climate change [8].
When physical activity involves exposure to natural environments, it provides special
contributions for improving mental health [
]. Interaction with nature has also been shown
to be related to greater psychological well-being [
], especially when mediated by physical
activity [
]; however, although it is known that greater psychological well-being is related
to greater athletic performance [
], the influence of the environment in this regard has not
been investigated. There is evidence, however, that the influence of natural spaces is not
generalizable to all types of physical activity. For example, a study comparing golfers and
walkers in natural environments found that for walkers, the natural environment stimulates
practice and generates positive feelings, while golfers, on the other hand, perceive natural
elements as obstacles to better performance [
]. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the
influence of the environment for each type of physical activity.
It has also been found that for adults raised in areas of lower economic incomes, emo-
tional intelligence is positively related to the greenness of the areas of residence. However,
this relationship is negative in adults raised in areas of higher economic incomes [
]. On
the other hand, it has been found that people with higher emotional intelligence have
greater psychological well-being [
] and engage in more leisure-time physical activi-
ties [
]. Available evidence shows that emotional intelligence may play an important role
in individuals’ physical activity patterns [17] and even in improving sports skills [18].
However, the aforementioned relationships may have differences when analyzed by
sex. Given that, in terms of body composition, there are differences in the proportion of fat
mass and muscle mass between the sexes [
], it is expected that there will be differences
in exercise performance, which may be accentuated by gender aspects and traditional roles.
It has been observed that more men engage in physical exercise than women, and men
also dedicate more time to the practice than women [
]. Women present greater body
dissatisfaction [
] and report lower scores of psychological well-being in the dimensions of
self-acceptance and autonomy; however, in positive relationships with others and personal
growth, they score higher than men [
], while men obtain higher scores in emotional
intelligence [16,23].
Furthermore, women make more frequent use of parks and natural areas [
]. The
green space health associations were stronger for women than for men in Europe and
North America, but not in other continents [
]. Therefore, it is necessary to further study
the relationship between green spaces and health outcomes in populations, such as in the
Mexican population.
Considering that physical exercise may require implements, equipment, or spaces
specially designed for its realization, some practices are of limited access to certain popula-
tion groups. Running is a type of physical exercise that is complete and accessible to the
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 3 of 10
general population, since it requires fewer implements than others and many spaces are
available for its realization. Despite this, physical inactivity rates in Mexico are highest in
the population aged 18 years and older: 66.7% of women and 53.3% of men reported not
engaging in any sport or physical exercise [
]. Therefore, some questions arise about the
characteristics of athletes and the environments in which they exercise.
Research indicates that the main motivations that runners identify for running are
social and psychological interactions, in addition to improving their health and physical
conditions [
]. In turn, psychological well-being is positively related to satisfaction with
body image [
]. The above allows hypothesizing about the potential of running in natural
spaces to contribute to improved psychological well-being and body image satisfaction.
In the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, research on nighttime runners in Poland
found that 31.5% reported that running reduces their stress levels, but only 10.5% prefer to
run in natural spaces [
]. This may be explained by the time of day during which they run,
as darkness may increase the risks involved in running in natural areas. A study of Mexican
runners revealed that men showed better running performance than women. In addition,
those who ran frequently in natural spaces showed less body dissatisfaction and greater
psychological well-being than those who ran infrequently in such spaces. A negative
association was also found between psychological well-being and body dissatisfaction [
Although this study may provide some clues about what happens with runners, the
associations were not made with distinctions according to sex and the space in which
they exercised.
A deeper understanding of the emotional and cognitive mechanisms underlying
running is required, with separate analyses by sex. Therefore, the present study aimed
to determine how emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and satisfaction with
body image in men and women are related to running in natural spaces. The hypothesis
was that, in both men and women, runners who run in natural spaces present greater
emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and satisfaction with body image than
those who run in built spaces. The secondary hypothesis was that emotional intelligence,
psychological well-being, and satisfaction with body image are predictors for running in
natural spaces.
2. Materials and Methods
A quantitative, cross-sectional study was carried out.
2.1. Participants
The sample size was estimated using a 95% confidence, statistical power of 80%,
and a correlation coefficient of 0.21. The sample size included 139 male participants and
139 female participants. Excluded were underage runners, those who were not currently
running, and those who ran at a similar frequency in natural and constructed areas. A
non-probabilistic sample of 331 runners from 20 Mexican states (55.3% women), between
18 and 80 years old (m = 37.4; SD = 11.5), was included. Participants had a mean of 7 years’
running experience (SD = 9.3) and ran for a mean of 3.4 days per week (SD = 1.5). Of the
selected participants, 50.8% were couples, 68.9% had paid jobs, 15.7% were students, 6.6%
were housewives, 2.7% were unemployed, 2.7% were pensioners or retired, and 3.3% did
not respond.
2.2. Instruments
General data and characteristics of the practice of physical activity were collected
using a form designed for this purpose, and open-ended questions were offered. Natural
spaces were considered to be those with a predominance of vegetation and minimal or no
presence of human constructions, while built spaces were considered to be those with a
predominance of asphalt and a minimal presence of vegetation. Runners were asked about
the type of space in which they most frequently ran, without differentiating natural areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 4 of 10
from urban natural areas, although they might have occasionally run in another type of
space in the past month.
The Brief Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i-M20) was applied, containing
20 items
on a Likert-type scale with five factors: intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management,
adaptability, and general mood. Each item had four response options: never happens to
me, sometimes happens to me, almost always happens to me, and always happens to me.
In the stress management subscale, a higher score meant lower intelligence; in the rest of
the subscales, the scores were straightforward. This structure showed acceptable reliability
coefficients for all of the dimensions (ω> 0.700) [31].
The Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), validated in the Mexican population, was
used to measure unidimensional dissatisfaction with body image. It consists of 18 items
on a 6-point Likert-type scale, in which higher scores reflect greater dissatisfaction with
body image. The unidimensional structure had high reliability coefficients (
= 0.947;
α= 0.957) [32].
The Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale, unidimensional version, validated in Mexican
university students, was used. It includes 19 items in Likert-type response format, with
scores ranging from 1 to 6; higher scores reflect greater psychological well-being. It had
high reliability coefficients (ω= 0.937; α= 0.909) [33].
2.3. Procedure
A call was made through Facebook groups of Mexican runners, from 1–30 April
2021 (spring). Of those persons called, 98.2% agreed to participate. Participants initially
provided the requested informed consent and subsequently answered the questionnaire,
using Google Forms.
2.4. Data Analysis
Considering sex differences in sports performance, contact with natural spaces, body
image dissatisfaction, psychological well-being, and emotional intelligence, all analyses
were done independently for men and women. The normality of the data, within groups,
was checked by means of skewness and kurtosis, and the multicollinearity was estimated
through variance inflation factor (VIF) values. Comparisons between those who ran
in natural spaces and those who ran in built spaces were made using student’s t-test
and chi-square, while the effect size was estimated in both cases (phi and Cohen’s d,
respectively). Pearson correlation coefficients were also estimated to identify associations.
Finally, multivariate logistic regression models were developed to detect predictors of
running in natural spaces, including the variables that had shown significant differences in
the comparisons by type of running space.
3. Results
3.1. Sample Characteristics
Men reported a higher frequency of running in natural spaces (66.2%) than women
did (55.2%) (p= 0.027). In the group of men, no differences in running performance were
found. In women, those who run in natural spaces were found to have greater participation
in running and other sports compared to those who run in built spaces (Table 1).
Table 1. Sample characteristics according to running space.
Natural Spaces Built Spaces
n%n%pES (ϕ)
Living in a couple
Men 44 44.9 27 54.0 0.303 0.086
Women 54 54.4 43 52.4 0.999 0.010
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 5 of 10
Table 1. Cont.
Natural Spaces Built Spaces
n%n%pES (ϕ)
Participation in competitions
Men 58 59.2 27 54.0 0.600 0.050
Women 70 69.3 43 52.4 0.022 0.173
Running for health reasons
Men 80 81.6 41 82.0 0.999 0.004
Women 85 84.2 65 79.3 0.442 0.063
Running for aesthetic reasons
Men 15 15.3 12 30.0 0.260 0.106
Women 16 15.8 15 18.3 0.695 0.032
Runs for competitive reasons
Men 16 16.3 7 14.0 0.813 0.030
Women 15 14.9 6 7.3 0.161 0.118
Running for recreation
Men 54 55.1 24 48.0 0.487 0.067
Women 55 54.4 43 52.4 0.882 0.020
Other physical exercise
Men 66 67.3 31 62.0 0.584 0.053
Women 80 79.2 49 59.8 0.005 0.212
ES = Effect size.
3.2. Comparisons According to Exercise Space
Men who run in natural spaces have greater psychological well-being, satisfaction
with body image, and emotional intelligence (intrapersonal and stress management) and
run more days and kilometers per week than those who run in built spaces. Women who
run in natural spaces have lower emotional intelligence (stress management) and run more
minutes per occasion (Table 2).
Table 2.
Comparison of well-being, satisfaction, emotional intelligence, and sports practice by sex,
according to running space.
Variables Men (n= 148)
Natural Spaces
(n= 98)
Built Spaces
(n= 50)
Mean SD Mean SD pES (d)
Psychological well-being 104.2 12.3 95.3 17.8 0.000 0.582
Body dissatisfaction 32.7 15.5 42.9 20.0 0.001 0.570
EI Intrapersonal 11.1 3.1 9.8 3.1 0.018 0.419
EI Interpersonal 11.1 2.8 11.4 2.1 0.441 0.121
EI Stress management 7.3 2.3 8.5 2.7 0.005 0.478
EI Adaptability 11.9 2.9 11.7 2.4 0.693 0.075
IE General mood 13.2 3.0 12.7 2.4 0.385 0.184
Age 39.8 12.9 35.6 14.4 0.073 0.307
Years running 10.9 12.3 7.2 9.9 0.067 0.331
Days per week 4.1 1.4 3.3 1.5 0.002 0.551
Minutes per day 67.6 24.0 61.1 27.9 0.154 0.250
Minimum weekly kms 24.5 17.5 18.2 16.0 0.037 0.376
Variables Women (n= 183)
(n= 101) (n= 82)
Psychological well-being 100.6 11.5 98.7 13.2 0.300 0.153
Body dissatisfaction 46.5 19.9 44.6 19.4 0.527 0.097
EI Intrapersonal 11.2 2.7 11.0 2.7 0.620 0.074
EI Interpersonal 11.9 2.2 11.9 2.3 0.920 0.000
EI Stress management 8.8 2.5 8.0 2.4 0.029 0.326
EI Adaptability 11.4 2.4 11.7 2.4 0.443 0.125
IE General mood 12.9 2.6 12.6 2.7 0.434 0.113
Age 36.2 9.9 36.5 9.6 0.877 0.030
Years running 5.7 6.2 4.6 6.2 0.199 0.177
Days per week 4.0 1.4 3.9 1.5 0.762 0.069
Minutes per day 66.6 23.5 57.4 21.6 0.008 0.408
Minimum weekly kms 17.1 14.9 16.0 13.9 0.599 0.076
EI: Emotional intelligence; ES = Effect size.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 6 of 10
3.3. Associations between Study Variables
In men who run in natural areas, a medium correlation was found between psycho-
logical well-being and body dissatisfaction and the number of days they run per week.
Likewise, there were small correlations of emotional intelligence with psychological well-
being, satisfaction with body image, and some running characteristics (Table 3). In women
who run in natural spaces, strong and medium magnitude correlations were found between
psychological well-being, emotional intelligence (adaptability, general mood, and stress
management), and body dissatisfaction; additionally, medium magnitude correlations were
found between body dissatisfaction and adaptability. Likewise, age showed a positive rela-
tionship of medium magnitude with emotional intelligence. There were small correlations
with some characteristics of running, body dissatisfaction, and adaptability (Table 3).
Table 3.
Association between psychological well-being, body dissatisfaction, emotional intelligence,
and characteristics of running in natural areas.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1. Psychological well-being
2. Body dissatisfaction
Men 0.456 **
Women 0.431 **
3. EI Intrapersonal
Men 0.090 0.118
Women 0.280 ** 0.042
4. EI Interpersonal
Men 0.014 0.221 * 0.460 **
Women 0.292 ** 0.022 0.411 **
5. EI Stress management
Men 0.204 * 0.206 * 0.050 0.018
Women 0.325 ** 0.263 ** 0.287 ** 0.054
6. EI Adaptability
Men 0.163 0.151 0.597 ** 0.703 ** 0.006
Women 0.502** 0.309 ** 0.602 ** 0.462 ** -
7. EI General mood
Men 0.132 0.016 0.595 ** 0.599 ** 0.047 0.812 **
Women 0.607 ** 0.284 ** 0.498 ** 0.357 ** 0.345 ** 0.660 **
8. Age
Men 0.019 0.197 0.066 0.170 0.163 0.231 * 0.199 *
Women 0.151 0.033 0.375 ** 0.168 0.390 ** 0.310 ** 0.302 **
9. Years running
Men 0.102 0.188 0.050 0.019 0.137 0.024 0.027 0.607 **
Women 0.192 0.114 0.214 * 0.084 0.270 ** 0.146 0.145 0.215 *
10. Days per week
Men 0.350 ** 0.230 * 0.107 0.014 0.195 0.121 0.085 0.160 0.227 *
Women 0.118 0.075 0.178 0.129 0.079 0.269 ** 0.173 0.235 * 0.257 **
11. Minutes per day
Men 0.213 * 0.066 0.109 0.066 0.110 0.126 0.072 0.033 0.092 0.106
Women 0.017 0.178 0.034 0.063 0.111 0.132 0.031 0.167 0.068 0.073
12. Minimum weekly kms
Men 0.234 * 0.074 0.028 0.041 0.137 0.047 0.076 0.083 0.211 0.602 ** 0.706 **
Women 0.090 0.202 * 0.090 0.168 0.105 0.152 0.061 0.290 ** 0.191 0.599 ** 0.609 **
EI: Emotional intelligence. * p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01.
Using a multivariate model, greater psychological well-being and emotional intelli-
gence (stress management) were identified as predictors of running in natural spaces in
men. In women, lower emotional intelligence (stress management), running more minutes
per occasion, and practicing other physical exercise were identified as predictors (Table 4).
Table 4.
Multivariate model for the detection of predictor variables for running in natural areas,
by gender.
Variables Crude Model Adjusted Model
OR CI 95% pOR CI 95% p
Psychological well-being 1.02 (0.99–1.05) 0.253 1.04 (1.01–1.07) 0.008
Body dissatisfaction 0.98 (0.96–1.01) 0.123 0.100
EI Intrapersonal 1.09 (0.96–1.25) 0.186 0.161
EI Stress management 0.88 (0.76–1.03) 0.103 0.86 (0.74–0.99) 0.038
Days per week 1.23 (0.89–1.69) 0.205 0.072
Minimum weekly kms 1.00 (0.97–1.03) 0.957 0.293
R2= 0.207
EI Stress management 1.17 (1.02–1.35) 0.030 1.16 (1.01–1.34) 0.036
Minutes per day 1.02 (1.00–1.03) 0.027 1.02 (1.01–1.04) 0.014
Participation in competitions 1.92 (0.98–3.75) 0.058
Other physical exercise 2.93 (1.43–6.01) 0.003 3.04 (1.49–6.22) 0.02
R2= 0.189
EI: Emotional intelligence; OR: Odss ratio; CI = Confidence interval.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 7 of 10
4. Discussion
Among all the sports practices, running is one of the most accessible to the population
because it is low-cost, requires little equipment, and can be performed in multiple envi-
ronments such as sidewalks, stadiums, tracks, and natural spaces. Our results show that
men run more frequently in natural areas compared to women, which could initially be
attributed to a predilection for nature; however, in other contexts, it has been observed
that women make more frequent use of parks and natural areas [
]. The difference found
may be due to the public insecurity that leads women to avoid these spaces to avoid being
victims of violence [
]. However, some gaps remain, since this study did not inquire about
the reasons why participants preferred one type of space or another, or about whether they
usually run alone or accompanied (which could be a mitigating factor for insecurity), or
about the distance of their residence from natural areas, which may be relevant for their
use [3].
The first hypothesis sought to determine whether runners in natural environments
have characteristics that differ from runners in built environments, focusing separately on
men and women. In men, it was found that those who run in natural spaces present greater
psychological well-being, less body dissatisfaction, and greater emotional intelligence
(intrapersonal and stress management), and they run more days and kilometers per week.
These findings on psychological well-being and body dissatisfaction are similar to those
from a previous study of Mexican male and female runners [
]. Although the relationship
between emotional intelligence and physical activity was already known [
], this is the
first study that shows a difference in emotional intelligence according to the type of space
in which runners exercise.
On the other hand, women who run in natural spaces participate more in competitions,
practice other physical exercise more frequently, and run more minutes per occasion; how-
ever, they also present lower emotional intelligence in the stress management dimension.
These findings differ from those observed for male participants in a previous study on
Mexican male and female runners [
], in which differences for well-being and body dissat-
isfaction were also expected to be found. It is especially interesting to observe the lower
emotional intelligence in the stress management dimension in female outdoor runners,
considering that physical activity is associated with higher emotional intelligence [
However, differential impacts of stress on physical exercise have been observed. While ha-
bitually active individuals exercise more in the face of stress, those who are in the initiation
stages of sport exercise less [
]. Additionally, this study reviewed emotional intelligence
for stress management and not the presence of stress as in other studies [2].
To our knowledge, this is the first research that reports a relationship between running
in natural spaces and lower emotional intelligence in women. This leads us to hypothesize
that stress management in women could not only mediate the consolidation of the practice,
but also the inclination to exercise in natural spaces as a compensatory measure.
On the other hand, it is interesting to compare the correlation found between age
and years of running, since in the men’s group, the correlation is strong (r = 0.607), and
in the women’s group, it is weak (r = 0.215). This suggests that men start running at an
earlier age and therefore obtain greater cumulative benefits than women. In addition to
starting to run at an older age, women may also be intermittent in the practice. This is
complemented by the mean number of years running for men (10.9 years), compared to that
found in women (5.7 years). These findings are in line with a previous study on adolescents
that reported that males engage in more physical activity for longer periods of time than
females [
]. Further studies with limited age groups are suggested to thoroughly explore
these relationships and detect variations between young adults, middle-aged, and older
adult runners.
The secondary hypothesis was that emotional intelligence, psychological well-being,
and body dissatisfaction are predictors of running in natural spaces. Regarding males,
there were correlations between psychological well-being, body image satisfaction, days
running per week, emotional intelligence, and some characteristics of running. These
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 6019 8 of 10
findings add to the available evidence on the relationships between physical activity and
mental health [
] and provide new information on running in natural environments.
Psychological well-being and emotional intelligence in the stress management dimension
are predictors of running in natural spaces for men.
Regarding females, the predictors of running in natural areas were identified as lower
emotional intelligence in the stress management dimension, running more minutes per
day, and practicing other physical exercise. These two characteristics of running point to
consolidated practice; it seems that as women progress in physical exercise, they have a
greater predilection for natural spaces. However, this group needs further studies to clarify
the controversial relationships between emotional intelligence in the dimension of stress
management and adhesion to running. One of the possible hypotheses is based on the
evidence for adults raised in areas with higher economic incomes, greater greenness is
negatively related to emotional intelligence [
]. This is not possible to verify, since our
study did not investigate the area of residence or economic incomes. If there is a causal link
between nature of exposure and emotional intelligence [
], then green exercise might help
women to enhance their ability to use and manage emotions.
Considering the differences found between men and women, it is necessary to deepen
the understanding of the relationships found here through longitudinal studies that allow
the establishment of causal relationships. In addition, the study was carried out in a short
timeframe over the spring of 2021, and it is possible that the associations found here will be
significantly modified in other environmental conditions less favorable for running. Finally,
further studies should consider some sociodemographic variables as potential confounding
factors with a larger sample size to be incorporated in multivariate models.
5. Conclusions
In this heterogeneous sample, men who run in natural areas have greater well-being,
less body dissatisfaction, more emotional intelligence (intrapersonal and stress manage-
ment), and run more days and kilometers per week. Women who run in natural areas have
lower emotional intelligence (stress management), run more minutes per occasion, and
more frequently practice other sports and participate in competitions. These differences
also occur in the associations; while for men running in natural areas is related to greater
emotional intelligence, for women the association is negative. Natural environments seem
to be related to better performance and some psychological indicators of runners, but these
relationships differ between men and women, so further studies are required to deepen the
study, especially in regard to emotional intelligence.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, Y.C.-U. and V.A.-N.; methodology, Y.C.-U.; validation,
S.G.-I., E.P. and S.R.-C.; formal analysis, Y.C.-U.; investigation, H.R.-R., S.G.-I., S.R.-C. and E.P.;
data curation, H.R.-R.; writing— original draft preparation, Y.C.-U.; writing—review and editing,
V.A.-N.; visualization, Y.C.-U. and V.A.-N.; supervision, Y.C.-U.; project administration, Y.C.-U.;
funding acquisition, Y.C.-U. and V.A.-N. All authors have read and agreed to the published version
of the manuscript.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board Statement:
The study was conducted according to the guidelines of
the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee of Instituto de Salud Pública,
Universidad Veracruzana (protocol code CONBIOÉTICA-30-CI-001-20190122 and date of approval
26 March 2021).
Informed Consent Statement:
Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in
the study.
Data Availability Statement: The database is available in base abierta.sav.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Aim: To investigate the impact of socio-demographic factors and job stressors on the emotional intelligence of psychiatric nurses. Background: Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in enabling nurses to effectively manage their own emotions, comprehend the emotions of others and assist individuals in dealing with diverse stressors. Nevertheless, a comprehensive conceptualization of the relationship between job stressors and emotional intelligence remains lacking. Design: This study employs a multi-centre cross-sectional design. Methods: A multi-centre cross-sectional survey involving 1083 registered nurses from 11 psychiatric hospitals across four provinces in China was conducted. Non-probability sampling was utilised. The survey encompassed assessments of nurse job stressors, emotional intelligence using a scale and socio-demographic characteristics using a questionnaire. A multiple linear regression model was applied to identify significant variables associated with emotional intelligence based on demographic attributes and various nurse job stressors. The study adhered to the STROBE checklist. Results: The findings revealed a noteworthy negative correlation between nurse job stressors and emotional intelligence. Socio-demographic factors and job stressors of certain nurses were able to predict emotional intelligence and its dimensions among psychiatric nurses, with percentages of 44.50%, 40.10%, 36.40%, 36.60% and 34.60%. Conclusion: Providing emotional intelligence training for psychiatric nurses could enhance their capacity to cope effectively with workplace stress, particularly among younger nurses who engage in limited physical activities. Relevance to clinical practice: The analysis of the relationship between emotional intelligence and nurse job stressors could facilitate early detection and intervention by managers based on pertinent factors. This, in turn, could elevate the emotional intelligence level of psychiatric nurses. No patient or public contribution: This study did not recruit participants, so details of participants were not be involved.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging around the world and public health measures such as lockdowns have forced people to go out less often, reducing sunlight exposure time, green space use, and physical activity. It is well known that exercise has a positive impact on mental health, but the impact of external environmental factors such as sunlight exposure and green space use on mental health has not been systematically reviewed. In this review, we categorized the major factors that may affect people’s mental health into (1) external environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight and green spaces, (2) internal life factors such as physical activity and lifestyle, and (3) mixed external and internal factors, and systematically examined the relationship between each factor and people’s mental health. The results showed that exposure to sunlight, spending leisure time in green spaces, and physical activity each had a positive impact on people’s mental health, including depression, anxiety, and stress states. Specifically, moderate physical activity in an external environment with sunlight exposure or green space was found to be an important factor. The study found that exposure to the natural environment through sunbathing and exercise is important for people’s mental health.
Full-text available
Running surrounded by nature at night, often with limited contact with other people, is one of the safest physical activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this article is to determine what motivates night recreational runners and to analyse the differences between men and women according to age, and also to see whether the fact of having had COVID-19 or not matters when it comes to athletes’ motivation behind participating in runs. Runners were also asked about participating in cities or out-of-town events in terms of verifying the cleanliness of the air before running, using masks or running in green areas. 233 individuals in total participated in this descriptive, quantitative, cross-sectional study. The questionnaire uses the division of motives used in the Marathon Motivation Scale (MOMS) and a number of additional questions on environmental factors. Overall, the main motivation that drives night-time runners is health orientation, weight concern, personal goal achievement, psychological coping, life meaning and self-esteem. The research also showed higher scores for health orientation, recognition, psychological coping, life meaning and self-esteem among runners who had had COVID-19 than runners who had not had the virus. In addition, respondents clearly indicated that night running makes it easier to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep. Most runners rated their mental health as being good, did not run in the morning despite better air levels, did not choose running events outside the urban area and did not check the air quality index before running. Therefore, it will be important for coaches, event organisers and other professionals to consider athletes’ age, gender, whether they have had COVID-19 and runners’ approaches to eco-attitudes when trying to understand their reasons for participating in different sports or leisure events, especially those that focus on a priority in shaping environmental attitudes.
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Las estrategias desarrolladas para disminuir la inactividad física no siempre generan grandes cambios, por lo que la búsqueda de los factores que subyacen a la práctica de actividad física es prioridad en salud pública. El objetivo de este trabajo fue determinar si existe relación entre correr en espacios naturales, bienestar psicológico, satisfacción con la imagen corporal y características de la actividad física. Se realizó un estudio transversal, en el que participaron 131 corredores (68 hombres y 63 mujeres) de la ciudad de Xalapa, Veracruz (México). El rango de edad fue de 20 a 70 años (M = 38.95; DT = 11.25). Se empleó un cuestionario de datos generales y práctica de actividad física, la Escala de bienestar psicológico de Ryff y el Body Shape Questionnaire. Se encontraron puntajes altos de bienestar psicológico y bajos de insatisfacción con la imagen corporal, sin embargo, en mujeres los puntajes de insatisfacción fueron más altos que en hombres.Las personas que se ejercitan con frecuencia en espacios naturales mostraron mayor bienestar psicológico, mejor desempeño en su ejercicio físico y más años corriendo. El bienestar psicológico tuvo correlación positiva con edad, años corriendo, días corriendo, minutos corriendo por ocasión y máximo de kilómetros, además tuvo correlación negativa con la insatisfacción con la imagen corporal. Se concluyó que correr se relaciona con beneficios psicológicos y quienes corren en espacios naturales tienen mayor bienestar psicológico y persistencia en la práctica. Por ello se requiere promocionar programas de actividad física en espacios naturales para la población general.
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Background and Objectives: A healthy diet during adolescence is important for growth and pubertal development. Assessing the diet of adolescents may be challenging as the behavioural factors and food habits which impact on what they eat may also affect how they report dietary intake. This study assesses factors associated with the misreporting of dietary intake. Methods: Adolescents ( n = 4,844; average age 13.8 years) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) completed a 3-day diet record. Misreporting was estimated using an individualised method, and adolescents were categorised by reporting status. Foods were categorised as core and noncore foods to evaluate diet quality. Body composition measurements were recorded at a research clinic. Information on dieting, weight concern, family socioeconomic status, and parental BMI were collected via questionnaires. Binary logistic regression was performed, in boys and girls separately, to investigate factors associated with underreporting of dietary intake. Results: Girls were much more likely than boys to be dissatisfied with their weight and to diet, but showed similar levels of underreporting (~67%). In adjusted regression analysis underreporters (UR) were more likely to be overweight or obese: OR in boys 2.8 (95% CI 1.7–4.8) and in girls 2.2 (95% CI 1.5–3.2). Dissatisfaction with weight and dieting were positively associated, and perception of being underweight negatively associated with underreporting in boys. Perception of being overweight, dieting, and exact age were positively associated with underreporting in girls. UR obtained a greater percentage of energy from protein and a smaller percentage of energy from fat; they reported greater intake of core foods and lower intakes of non-core foods than plausible reporters. Conclusion: A large proportion of adolescents underreported their dietary energy intake. This was associated with their body weight status and body image and had a differential effect on their estimated food and macronutrient intakes. Assessment of misreporting status is essential when collecting and interpreting dietary information from adolescents.
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Green space may play an essential role in residents’ physical activity (PA), but evidence remains scattered in China. This study systematically reviewed scientific evidence regarding the influence of green space on PA among residents in China. Keyword and reference searches were conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, EBSCO, and CNKI from the inception of an electronic bibliographic database to May 2021. Eligibility criteria included the following: study designs—observational (e.g., longitudinal or cross-sectional studies) and experimental studies; study subjects—people of all ages; exposures—green space (e.g., parks, vegetation areas, open green fields); outcomes—leisure-time and work/school-related PA (e.g., active commuting); and country—China. All but two studies identified at least one measure of green space to be associated with PA. Street greenness was associated with increased odds of active commuting (e.g., cycling) and walking, and a reduced risk of physical inactivity. Access to green space was associated with increased PA levels and green space usage. Distance to green space was inversely associated with the odds of PA. By contrast, evidence linking overall greenness exposure to PA remains limited. Future studies adopting experimental study design are warranted to establish more robust scientific evidence of causality between green space and PA in China. Future studies are also warranted to examine the underlining mechanisms and the differential impacts of green space on population subgroups in China.
Full-text available
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that health and well-being are essential to achieving the United Nations (UN) Development Agenda 2030, which includes the goal of empowering people to adopt active lifestyles while protecting the planet's health. This article aims at exploring how exercise performed in different natural settings can contribute to improving health and to a more sustainable world. We define "exercise" as a form of physical activity undertaken to increase fitness, health, and well-being, and argue for the importance of "green" and "blue" exercise as forms of physical activity that are associated with the protection and sustainability of natural settings and the promotion of planetary health. Blue and green exercise should become a focus of public policies, especially when outdoor activities are being identified as fundamental for the promotion of mental, physical, social, and spiritual health. The current paper intends to raise the awareness of political decision-makers and professionals in education, environment, and heath sectors for the potential of green and blue exercise as specific exercise practices that are healthy, joyful, and environmentally friendly.
Ryff's Model of Psychological well-being has four major factors like Self-Acceptance, Personal Growth, Environmental Mastery, and Autonomy that contribute to an individual's performance and personal growth. These factors are applied on Chinese basketball teams, the population of this study. The main objective of this study was to analyze the impact of psychological wellbeing on the higher performance of Chinese basketball players with the mediation of excellence of trainers. A simple random sampling technique was used for the data collection. Data was collected with the use of the e-mail survey method. Results generated from PLS_SEM revealed that psychological well-being factors like Self-Acceptance, Environmental Mastery, and Autonomy have a positive significant impact on the excellence of trainer and also on the higher performance of players except personal growth and for the excellence of trainer is self-acceptance. An increase in the excellence of trainers also increases the performance of players in Chinese basketball teams. The excellence of trainers also does not mediate the relationship between psychological well-being factors like Self-Acceptance, Personal Growth, and Autonomy, and higher performance of players in Chinese basketball teams except environmental mastery. This study recommends that in order to increase the performance of player's management, the team administration should focus on focus such as excellence of trainers and psychological well-being factors. © 2020 Sociedad Revista de Psicologia del Deporte. All rights reserved.
Trait emotional intelligence reflects a set of self-perceptions and behavioral tendencies to empathize with others and manage one's own emotions. Trait emotional intelligence is a valuable characteristic since it can aid social interaction, bolster subjective wellbeing, and predict career success. Past research suggests that brief exposures to greenspace can enhance outcomes related to facets of trait emotional intelligence. The current study employed a retrospective life course analysis to examine whether residential greenness and other aspects of the residential environment predict trait emotional intelligence in early adulthood. Childhood exposure for 297 college students was based on up to three home addresses from birth to age 18, weighted by residency duration. Greenspace was calculated with normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values in 500 m and 1000 m buffers. Partially supporting our predictions, we found emotional intelligence in young adults growing up in lower-income areas was positively associated with cumulative neighborhood greenness around childhood homes. The opposite pattern was found for those who grew up in higher-income areas, with greater greenness500-m being associated with lower emotional intelligence scores. These are the first reported findings involving physical/natural environmental correlates of emotional intelligence and among the first to suggest an equigenic effect of greenspace on socio-emotional outcomes whereby exposure might help overturn inequalities rather than merely reduce them. If a causal link exists between nature exposure and emotional intelligence, then neighborhood greening might help children who begin life at a societal disadvantage through enhancing their ability to understand, use, and manage emotions.
A growing literature shows that green space can have protective effects on human health. As a marginalized group, women often have worse life outcomes than men, including disparities in some health outcomes. Given their marginalization, women might have “more to gain” than men from living near green spaces. Yet, limited research has deliberately studied whether green space-health associations are stronger for women or men. We conducted a systematic review to synthesize empirical evidence on whether sex or gender modifies the protective associations between green space and seven physical health outcomes (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, general physical health, non-malignant respiratory disease, mortality, and obesity-related health outcomes). After searching five databases, we identified 62 articles (including 81 relevant analyses) examining whether such effect modification existed. We classified analyses based on whether green space-health were stronger for women, no sex/gender differences were detected, or such associations were stronger for men. Most analyses found that green space-physical health associations were stronger for women than for men when considering study results across all selected health outcomes. Also, women showed stronger protective associations with green space than men for obesity-related outcomes and mortality. Additionally, the protective green space-health associations were slightly stronger among women for green land cover (greenness, NDVI) than for public green space (parks), and women were also favored over men when green space was measured very close to one's home (0–500 m). Further, the green space-health associations were stronger for women than for men in Europe and North America, but not in other continents. As many government agencies and nongovernmental organizations worldwide work to advance gender equity, our review shows that green space could help reduce some gender-based health disparities. More robust empirical studies (e.g., experimental) are needed to contribute to this body of evidence.
Background Alterations in body composition (BC) during adolescence relates to future metabolic risk, yet underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Objectives To assess the association between the metabolome with changes in adiposity (body mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC], triceps skinfold [TS], fat percentage [BF%]) and muscle mass (MM). Methods In Mexican adolescents (n = 352), untargeted serum metabolomics was profiled at baseline. and data were reduced by pairing hierarchical clustering with confirmatory factor analysis, yielding 30 clusters with 51 singleton metabolites. At the baseline and follow-up visits (1.6–3.5 years apart), anthropometry was collected to identify associations between baseline metabolite clusters and change in BC (∆) using seemingly unrelated and linear regression. Results Between visits, MM increased in boys and adiposity increased in girls. Sex differences were observed between metabolite clusters and changes in BC. In boys, aromatic amino acids (AAA), branched chain amino acids (BCAA) and fatty acid oxidation metabolites were associated with increases in ∆BMI, and ∆BF%. Phospholipids were associated with decreases in ∆TS and ∆MM. Negative associations were observed for ∆MM in boys with a cluster including AAA and BCAA, whereas positive associations were found for a cluster containing tryptophan metabolites. Few associations were observed between metabolites and BC change in girls, with one cluster comprising methionine, proline and lipids associated with decreases in ∆BMI, ∆WC and ∆MM. Conclusion Sex-specific associations between the metabolome and change in BC were observed, highlighting metabolic pathways underlying adolescent physical growth.