The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has suggested following an analysis that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment.
The research team analysed data from a number of sources including 11 randomised and non-randomised control trials incorporating information from 833 adults.
Eligible trials were those that compared the effects of outdoor exercise initiatives with those conducted indoors and which reported at least one physical or mental well-being outcome in adults or children.
The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression.
Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.
However, none of the identified studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being, or the effect of natural environments on sticking to exercise.
The findings have been published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.