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Physiological and psychological effects of walking on young males in urban parks in winter.

Song C, Joung D, Ikei H, Igarashi M, Aga M, Park BJ, Miwa M, Takagaki M, Miyazaki Y - J Physiol Anthropol (2013)

Bottom Line: Interaction with nature has a relaxing effect on humans.Increasing attention has been focused on the therapeutic effects of urban green space; however, there is a lack of evidence-based field research.The results of three questionnaires indicated that walking in the urban park improved mood and decreased negative feelings and anxiety.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan. ymiyazaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp.

ABSTRACT

Background: Interaction with nature has a relaxing effect on humans. Increasing attention has been focused on the therapeutic effects of urban green space; however, there is a lack of evidence-based field research. This study provided scientific evidence supporting the physiological and psychological effects of walking on young males in urban parks in winter.

Findings: Subjects (13 males aged 22.5 ± 3.1 years) were instructed to walk predetermined 15-minute courses in an urban park (test) and in the city area (control). Heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured to assess physiological responses. The semantic differential (SD) method, Profile of Mood States (POMS), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to determine psychological responses.Heart rate was significantly lower and the natural logarithm of the high frequency component of HRV was significantly higher when walking through the urban park than through the city area. The results of three questionnaires indicated that walking in the urban park improved mood and decreased negative feelings and anxiety.

Conclusions: Physiological and psychological data from this field experiment provide important scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of walking in an urban park. The results support the premise that walking in an urban park has relaxing effects even in winter.

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Experimental scene of urban park (left) and city area (right).
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Figure 1: Experimental scene of urban park (left) and city area (right).

Mentions: The field experiment was performed in November 2012 in Kashiwanoha Park (hereinafter referred to as the urban park) in Chiba, Japan. As a control, the city area around the urban park (hereinafter referred to as the city area) was selected (Figure 1). The weather on the day of the experiment was sunny, and the average temperature, humidity, and intensity of illumination in the urban park were 13.8°C, 50.9%, and 7,930 lx, respectively, while those in the city area were 14.0°C, 52.1%, and 8,430 lx, respectively. In addition, the trees in the park had either lost their leaves or the leaves had turned red or yellow, but there was no snow.


Physiological and psychological effects of walking on young males in urban parks in winter.

Song C, Joung D, Ikei H, Igarashi M, Aga M, Park BJ, Miwa M, Takagaki M, Miyazaki Y - J Physiol Anthropol (2013)

Experimental scene of urban park (left) and city area (right).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3817995&req=5

Figure 1: Experimental scene of urban park (left) and city area (right).
Mentions: The field experiment was performed in November 2012 in Kashiwanoha Park (hereinafter referred to as the urban park) in Chiba, Japan. As a control, the city area around the urban park (hereinafter referred to as the city area) was selected (Figure 1). The weather on the day of the experiment was sunny, and the average temperature, humidity, and intensity of illumination in the urban park were 13.8°C, 50.9%, and 7,930 lx, respectively, while those in the city area were 14.0°C, 52.1%, and 8,430 lx, respectively. In addition, the trees in the park had either lost their leaves or the leaves had turned red or yellow, but there was no snow.

Bottom Line: Interaction with nature has a relaxing effect on humans.Increasing attention has been focused on the therapeutic effects of urban green space; however, there is a lack of evidence-based field research.The results of three questionnaires indicated that walking in the urban park improved mood and decreased negative feelings and anxiety.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan. ymiyazaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp.

ABSTRACT

Background: Interaction with nature has a relaxing effect on humans. Increasing attention has been focused on the therapeutic effects of urban green space; however, there is a lack of evidence-based field research. This study provided scientific evidence supporting the physiological and psychological effects of walking on young males in urban parks in winter.

Findings: Subjects (13 males aged 22.5 ± 3.1 years) were instructed to walk predetermined 15-minute courses in an urban park (test) and in the city area (control). Heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured to assess physiological responses. The semantic differential (SD) method, Profile of Mood States (POMS), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to determine psychological responses.Heart rate was significantly lower and the natural logarithm of the high frequency component of HRV was significantly higher when walking through the urban park than through the city area. The results of three questionnaires indicated that walking in the urban park improved mood and decreased negative feelings and anxiety.

Conclusions: Physiological and psychological data from this field experiment provide important scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of walking in an urban park. The results support the premise that walking in an urban park has relaxing effects even in winter.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus