What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health?



“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -- George Bernard Shaw

This recent report offers some helpful insights to the mental state GBS was getting at:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es903183r

Summary: 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).

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There are plenty of types of nature and greenspaces in both rural and urban areas ranging from very extensive wilderness to green belts surrounding urban-space, but all can contribute significantly to people’s health and quality of life.

I'm particularly intrigued by an overlay of an Elusive Landscape (see blogpost: Artists Multi-tasks Mother Nature) with a "typology of engagement with nature". Thus encouraging natural experiences and helping all of us get a better handle on educational curriculum that define health-deriving outcomes/benefits of nature exposure.


Even more specifically, for those of us interested in engaging multi-generations in outdoor activities, the conclusion of this report notes:

  • "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."

I like to summarize in this way: when conceivable, apply the nature of rhythm divine to activate the soul; inner spirit of play will emerge.

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Comment by Randy Eady on October 19, 2010 at 8:39am
The image included with this article was the result of a "seasoned artist" -- herself living w/a severe congenital spinal condition guiding a youngster (with learning and processing issues) through creation of a self-image.

Stimulated, in part, from sensations that were felt through his body as he routinely walked on a cobblestone mat in the garden.

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