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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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Related in: MedlinePlus

Comparison of subjective scoring for state anxiety by STAI between the two environments. n = 13, mean ± SD. STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. *P <0.05, determined by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
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Figure 6: Comparison of subjective scoring for state anxiety by STAI between the two environments. n = 13, mean ± SD. STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. *P <0.05, determined by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Mentions: The results of the analysis of psychological responses revealed notable differences between the two environments. In the comparison of the SD scores, significantly higher scores were observed in the urban park for the following three adjectives: ‘comfortable’, ‘natural’, and ‘relaxed’ compared with the city area (P <0.01; Figure 4). Significant differences were also detected in the results of the POMS test (Figure 5). The score for the negative subscale ‘tension–anxiety’ was significantly lower after walking in the urban park compared with the city area (P <0.01). Conversely, the positive mood state for ‘vigor’ was significantly higher in the urban park but not in the city area (P <0.01). For the other subscales (‘depression’, ‘anger–hostility’, ‘fatigue’, and ‘confusion’), no significant differences were observed. In the results of analysis of state anxiety using STAI, the score was 18.2% lower in the urban park (37.3 ± 8.7 scores) compared with the city area (45.6 ± 7.1 scores; P <0.05; Figure 6).


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)

Comparison of subjective scoring for state anxiety by STAI between the two environments. n = 13, mean ± SD. STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. *P <0.05, determined by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 6: Comparison of subjective scoring for state anxiety by STAI between the two environments. n = 13, mean ± SD. STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. *P <0.05, determined by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Mentions: The results of the analysis of psychological responses revealed notable differences between the two environments. In the comparison of the SD scores, significantly higher scores were observed in the urban park for the following three adjectives: ‘comfortable’, ‘natural’, and ‘relaxed’ compared with the city area (P <0.01; Figure 4). Significant differences were also detected in the results of the POMS test (Figure 5). The score for the negative subscale ‘tension–anxiety’ was significantly lower after walking in the urban park compared with the city area (P <0.01). Conversely, the positive mood state for ‘vigor’ was significantly higher in the urban park but not in the city area (P <0.01). For the other subscales (‘depression’, ‘anger–hostility’, ‘fatigue’, and ‘confusion’), no significant differences were observed. In the results of analysis of state anxiety using STAI, the score was 18.2% lower in the urban park (37.3 ± 8.7 scores) compared with the city area (45.6 ± 7.1 scores; P <0.05; Figure 6).

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