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Perspect Public Health. 2012 Mar;132(2):89-96.

Exercise-, nature- and socially interactive-based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK. jobarton@essex.ac.uk

Abstract

AIMS:

This study evaluated two existing group-based health promotion initiatives (a social club and a swimming group) and compared these to a new green exercise programme (weekly countryside and urban park walks).

METHODS:

Participants represented a clinical population (N = 53) and were all experiencing a range of mental health problems. They only attended one of the three programmes and sessions were held once a week for six weeks in all initiatives. Composite questionnaires incorporating two standardized measures to analyse changes in self-esteem and mood were completed before and after all sessions.

RESULTS:

A significant main effect for self-esteem and mood pre and post activity (p < 0.001) was reported after participating in a single session. The change in self-esteem was significantly greater in the green exercise group compared with the social activities club (p < 0.001). Dose responses showed that both self-esteem and mood levels improved over the six-week period and improvements were related to attendance in the green exercise group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Green exercise as a health-promoting initiative for people experiencing mental ill health is equally as effective as existing programmes. Combining exercise, nature and social components in future initiatives may play a key role in managing and supporting recovery from mental ill health, suggesting a potential 'green' approach to mental healthcare and promotion.

PMID:
22616429
DOI:
10.1177/1757913910393862
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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