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The benefits of nature and green spaces on mental health have been well documented in recent years. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on mental well-being, reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and increasing cognitive function. In this article, we will explore the mental health benefits of nature and green spaces and why personal trainers should train their clients outdoors.
Research has shown that spending time in nature and green spaces can have a positive impact on mental health. A study conducted by Mind, the mental health charity, found that 90% of participants reported improved mood after spending time in nature. In addition, 72% of participants reported feeling less stressed after spending time outdoors (Mind, 2013).
Another study by the University of Essex found that just five minutes of exercise in nature can improve self-esteem and mood (Barton & Pretty, 2010). Furthermore, a review of research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that exposure to natural environments can have a positive effect on attention and cognitive function (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008).
Given the mental health benefits of nature and green spaces, personal trainers should consider incorporating outdoor training sessions into their clients’ exercise programs. Not only will this provide clients with a change of scenery, but it can also have a positive impact on their mental well-being.
In addition, training outdoors can provide clients with a more challenging workout. The uneven terrain and natural obstacles found in outdoor environments can increase the difficulty of exercises, leading to greater gains in strength and endurance, particularly when wearing barefoot shoes. Furthermore, outdoor training sessions can provide a more varied workout, as trainers can incorporate exercises that utilise natural elements, such as hills, stairs, and rocks.
The mental health benefits of nature and green spaces are clear. Spending time outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase cognitive function. Personal trainers should consider incorporating outdoor training sessions into their clients’ exercise programs to provide them with a change of scenery, a more challenging workout, and improved mental well-being.
Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 44(10), 3947-3955. doi: 10.1021/es903183r
Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x
Mind. (2013). Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health. Retrieved from https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/3475/ecotherapy_report.pdf
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