The Benefits of Green Exercise

Ansel Adams photograph of Snake river

I first wrote about Green Exercise in a post on trail running last year. It is “physical activity in the presence of nature.” There was some interesting research published that even just 5 minutes of green exercise decreases the risk of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. While all types of natural environments produced advantages, including green urban environments (e.g., a city park), researchers noted that those that contained water resulted in greater benefits.

So, if you can, find a place to walk, bike, hike, or run along a lake, stream, or river where you can be surrounded by trees and other plants. I personally noticed a huge change in my love for running and mood benefits when I switched from running streets to running trails in the forest. It always lifts my mood and the run just feels more natural and easier. I look forward to my trail runs in a way that I never did with my city street runs.

Learn more about Green Exercise here.

Chart of change in arterial blood pressure after exercise

River running trail

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