Outdoor Mindful Movement Training
Nature-based mindfulness activities have mind, body and social benefits.
Ready to give your mindful movement activities an additional boost? Look for ways to take them outdoors. Findings from a systematic review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019; 16 , pii E3202) showed that nature-based mindfulness activities have positive mind, body and social effects.
A review of 25 studies that included almost 3,000 participants concluded that mindfulness activities that take place in nature are moderately superior to those conducted in nonnatural settings and that informal practices focusing on sensory connection and engaging with nature produce more health benefits than formal mindfulness meditation.
The study authors defined “informal mindfulness” as guided attention to the senses with an attitude of nonjudgment and openness. Interest in the health-promoting effects of nature is growing, and the benefits of mindfulness and nature are believed to be complementary. Study limitations included a lack of high-quality clinical trials and a lack of heterogeneity among participants and interventions. More research is needed to understand how to optimize nature-based mindfulness programs.
Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.