Green Exercise: Improve Your Health and Find Your Blue Mind

May 15, 2023 · 4 min read

Green Exercise: Improve Your Health and Find Your Blue Mind

When wild cherry blossoms start glowing, Japan reaches full bloom, becoming a stunning garden that reminds us that spring is about to flourish. Likewise, many countries begin experiencing longer days, leaving behind the dark months and some sort of human hibernation. In a wink, you realize it’s high time to take a deep breath to freshen your mind and stretch your body. You may wonder what to do next. Simple. Step out the door, soak up some vitamin D, and give green exercise a whirl.

Before catching some rays, start by genuinely asking yourself about the last time you thoroughly savored the morning air, smelled the wet earth after the rain, or heard the birds warbling and chirping the dawn chorus. This is just the pristine setting in which green exercise takes place. But there’s a whole heap of benefits in which you will surely find your blue mind.

What the research says about green exercise

The term was defined by Jules Pretty and colleagues from Essex University1 as a “physical activity in green places that may bring both physical and mental health benefits.” Similarly, another study called ‘Green exercise, Health, and Well-being1,’ shows that this type of outdoor activity is also combined with social contact, leisure, environmental education, or health promotion, which is a kind of indicator of the quality of life. Let’s see some tangible benefits:

Boosts a sense of life satisfaction: The study suggests1 that healthier blood pressure levels and cortisol enhance energy, well-being, and positive emotions. These benefits go beyond those of exercising indoors1. Another critical advantage is revitalization, thus improving self-esteem and reducing tension, anger, and depression1. So, keep in mind that green exercise is a ray of sunshine whenever you are down in the dumps.

Improves our genetic makeup: According to a study2, as part of our genetic makeup, humans are prone to desire contact with nature, and therefore, green exercise “should be used to facilitate physical activity to improve health.” While another study1 looking at the mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise suggests that we may also be genetically designed to interact with nature and cohabit in the great outdoors; thus, the lack of physical and mental stimulation may harm health. Considering this, going barefoot on soil or grounding your feet on the grass of your backyard or a nearby park may help reestablish your genetic relationship with nature.

Reduces the perception of effort: Some people are not always bouncing off the walls when it comes to physical activity. However, green exercise, considered as a social and entertainment value, can improve enjoyment and the need to disconnect from the usual routine2.

The study2 also refers to the perception of effort as a complex system that includes multiple components. Given this, exercising outdoors can reduce the perception of effort thanks to “the inputs from the visual system, the feed-forward center, as well as cognitive input, which may be able to act as a distractive stimulus.2” This means that a natural environment can reduce awareness of negative emotions, “minimizing the perception of effort.2

Enhances nature engagement: The lack of contact or disengagement with nature is a fact that negatively affects many people worldwide, especially children and teens.2 Nature engagement can increase sufficient vitamin D levels and improve mental health benefits with a “synergistic impact on markers of mental well-being and physiological markers.2

At the end of the day, no matter what type of outdoor activity you choose or which natural setting you pitch up to, have fun and blow away the cobwebs! See some recommendations below!

Some tips for green exercise in spring!

Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual; you can do it!

Be weather wise

Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat


Think of your footing

Pack carbohydrate-filled energy bars, water, and a small first-aid kit

Wear proper outdoor clothing

Use appropriate insect repellent

Stay safe

Breathe, unleash your five senses

ENJOY the majesty of nature!

We are all kinds of social! Who can post the funniest picture of exercising outdoors? We want to hear your story!

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  1. Loureiro, Ana & Veloso, Susana. (2017). Green Exercise, Health, and Well-Being. 10.1007/978-3-319-31416-7_8.
  2. Lahart, Ian, et al. “The Effects of Green Exercise on Physical and Mental Wellbeing: A Systematic Review.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 16,8 1352. 15 Apr. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijerph16081352

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