Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More on Green Exercise

I found the research article on “green exercise” that I mentioned a couple of posts ago -- and it is interesting.

The article is a multistudy analysis of the best doses of green exercise (i.e., outdoor exercise) required to improve mood and self-esteem. It is authored by two researchers from the University of Essex in England.

The results of the study found green exercise improves both self-esteem and mood. Interestingly, the authors reported that those with mental illness had one of the greatest improvements in self-esteem. Acute changes in mood were largely maintained for 2 to 4 hours following exercise and had positive effects on social interactions, productivity, and making better behavioral choices.

Green exercise by research participants most often consisted of walking or gardening. Even exercise of short duration (5 minutes) seemed to have a positive effect. The authors concluded: “Exposure to nature via green exercise can thus be conceived of as readily available therapy with no obvious side effects.”

Thus, this research certainly provides RTs with support for walking and gardening programs, especially for clients with mental illness. Of course, other types of RT clients may benefit from green exercise as well.

To read the results yourself go to: “What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis,” by Jo Barton and Jules Pretty, in the 2010, 44 (10) issue of Environmental Science & Technology, pages 3947 - 3955.


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