Restorative benefits of everyday green exercise : A spatial approach

Anna Kajosaari*, Tytti P. Pasanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contact with green space has been associated with diverse beneficial impacts on human health. Studies focusing on green exercise suggest that physical activity undertaken in green environments provides more mental health benefits than physical activity in indoor or other outdoor settings. However, this evidence is largely based on experimental field studies that control the participants’ contact with green space, while there is a lack of evidence that the real-life settings for green exercise promote mental health. This study applies a spatial approach using public participation GIS (PPGIS) methods to explore the perceived restorative outcomes of diverse outdoor physical activity environments. The data were collected in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland, with a map-based online survey directed to adults aged 18–65 years (n = 760). Perceived restoration was measured with three variables; stress reduction, relaxation, and nature enjoyment. Logistic regression analyses revealed significant differences in the perceived restoration outcomes between diverse outdoor physical activity environments. Stress reduction and relaxation during physical activity were most likely to be experienced near blue spaces and in large (>30 ha) urban and recreational forests, while nature enjoyment was associated with natural environments of all sizes. The results of this study suggest that exercising in blue spaces and in large natural areas provides additional restorative benefits compared to exercise undertaken in built outdoor environments. These results support a synergistic conception of urban health that acknowledges the diversity of health benefits provided by public open spaces, in particular blue and natural green settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103978
Number of pages11
JournalLANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING
Volume206
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Green exercise
  • Green space
  • Mental Health
  • Natural Environments
  • Physical activity
  • Public participation GIS

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