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 [17], 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.