REPs UK PTIA REPS NZ

Nature’s “Green” Boosts Mood and Energy

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Dec 13, 2012

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Do you train clients outdoors? You may want to head for verdant forests and lush, grassy settings to boost participants’ mood and energy levels.

Being exposed to the color green may be one reason why exercising in nature, also referred to as green exercise, produces physical and mental rewards beyond those that come from exercise alone. Studies have shown that green exercise improves mood, self-esteem, enjoyment and motivation. Researchers from the University of Essex, in England, wanted to tease out the extent to which the color green, as a primitive visual characteristic of natural settings, contributes to these benefits.

Fourteen subjects participated in three moderate-intensity cycling tasks while watching videos of a rural cycling course out in nature. The footage in each video had different coloring: achromatic gray, red or the normal predominantly green image. At the cycling trials, scientists took physical measures of workload, rating of perceived exertion and state of mood. Data analysis showed that subjects experienced less mood disturbance and had a lower RPE while watching the natural green video. During the red video, subjects experienced stronger feelings of anger.

Study authors concluded that the color green contributed to the benefits gained from green exercise. Author Dominic Micklewright, PhD, associate dean of the University of Essex Online in the school of biological sciences, said, “There is lots of evidence now that exercising in natural environments has positive physiological and psychological therapeutic effects, but what our most recent study has begun to explore are the cognitive mechanisms responsible for such effects. We are hoping that through further studies we will be able to gain a much better understanding of how people perceive and respond to natural environments, which will enable us to capitalize on the therapeutic potential that such environments offer.”

Limitations of the study included the small sample size. Other research has shown that color affects psychological feelings. For example, exposure to red or yellow heightens arousal, while green and blue evoke calm and tranquility. This stimulating quality of certain colors may explain the current popularity of neon-bright training apparel. More research is needed regarding the cognitive mechanisms between color perception and mood.

The green study is available in Environmental Science & Technology (2012; 46, 8661–66).

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA’s mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author base...

0 Comments

Trending Articles

How to Teach HIIT to Everyone

High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have b...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

Show More