Doing exercise in natural, green surroundings has been linked to better mental health, according to a new study conducted in the UK.
Researchers analysed results taken from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found that those who combined exercise such as cycling or walking with nature showed improvements in mood and self-esteem, the BBC reported.
The findings, published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, revealed that young and mentally-ill people benefited the most from “green exercise“ and mood improvements were found to be even more significant in those who exercised in areas where there was a body of water, such as a river or a lake.
University of Essex researcher and study leader, Jules Pretty, told the BBC that inactive, stressed or mentally ill people would probably gain the most from this sort of activity, stating:
“Employers, for example, could encourage staff in stressful workplaces to take a short walk at lunchtime in the nearest park to improve mental health.”
Chief executive of mental health charity Mind, Paul Farmer, said to the newsprovider that these findings were further evidence that just a short period of time of outdoor exercise can serve as cheap and drug-free therapy to improve mental health.
He said: “It’s important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate.”
Image: Frapestaartje and aarmono