Green Exercise | Physical Exercise in Nature and its Benefits

Published: Oct 1, 2023 | Revised: Jun 2, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Woman exercising in the forest

© Image by Depositphotos

Green Exercise is a term used for physical exercise — basically any physical activity — carried out outdoors in natural environments (in Nature or in the countryside), or alternatively in urban green spaces like city parks. Think of activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, fitness, kayaking, horse riding, Yoga, biking, flying kites, and so on.

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Although physical exercise provides physical and mental health benefits such as losing weight, improved cardiovascular health, and stress reduction, it’s thought that carrying out exercise in Nature strengthens and increases certain of those health benefits, while also having additional advantages.

For instance, Green Exercise significantly induces increased stress and anxiety reduction, stress-resiliency, and mental fatigue reduction, while boosting concentration ability and cognitive function.

Research done on the topic has focused on ideas developed within certain fields that study the relationship of people with Nature, such as Attention Restoration Therapy, Ecopsychology, and Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Studies on Green Exercise have also shown that physical exercise in all types of green environment strongly improves self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, even more for green environments where water is present.

Additionally, exercising outdoors makes one’s body produce more Vitamin D (sun exposure), burns more calories and improves balance and coordination (uneven terrain which activates more muscle groups), and provides more sensory stimulation and satisfaction.

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