Run, Forest, run!
08 May 2013
Walking, jogging or running in natural environments can have a more positive effect on the brain than doing so in a gym, research has found. So if the Bank Holiday sun wasn't tempting enough, there's another reason to lace up those running shoes and get out of the door!
Researchers discovered that a walk in the park or running through some woods can have a positive effect on people suffering from depression and anxiety. The positive effect of exercise on mental health has long been discussed, but this study showed that its effect was about 50% greater if it was done in natural environments rather than in a gym.
The researchers looked at natural and non-natural environments for physical activity, including walking, running and cycling, and found that being around trees and grass lowered brain stress levels. They found that the activities carried out in a natural environment outdoors were associated with a lower risk of poor mental health.
Being in areas with lots of trees and grass has been found to help calm us down as the brain likes to be in natural environments. One of the professors in the study said that exercising for just once a week in a forest or park could be enough to reap the benefits, but additional use could have even greater benefits.
It may not help more serious mental health issues, but sufferers of mild depression, sleep troubles, high stress, or anxiety could really benefit from being outside.
So on your next workout, try using your nearest park or woodland area. To give you a helping hand, you could find you local ‘Outdoor’ facilities on www.spogo.co.uk.
spogo's In the Running is designed to help anyone inspired by the recent Virgin London Marathon to give running a go. Visit the campaign's website for more news and information to help you build up to running a 5K!