Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology

EXERCISE AND NATURE: A RELEVANT COMBINATION TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Abstract

Susana Veloso & Ana Loureiro

Physical inactivity and disconnection from natural environment are motives for worry to public health, due to their contributions to the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, mortality and several psychological problems. The paper aims to identify and describe the benefits of outdoor exercise and physical activity to health and well-being. Theories are described to explain the relationship between nature and physical activity, which leads to the proposal of ‘green exercise’ concept. Studies carried out in Portugal analyse the relationship between green exercise, well-being, vitality, mindfulness, stress, anxiety and depression, as well as relatedness to nature. The research about benefits of physical activity in contact with nature allows the identification of green exercise recommendations. Finally, the article explores the implications of green exercise to health and active lifestyles promotion, indicating several actions as public campaigns, accessibility, or training programs for professionals, in order to raise the time spent in contact with nature.

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