The efficacy of green exercise interventions for mental wellbeing. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Regular Doses of Nature: The Efficacy of Green Exercise Interventions for Mental Wellbeing.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 02 27 ;17(5). Epub 2020 Feb 27. PMID: 32120892
This study investigated the efficacy of medium-term Green Exercise (GE; being physically active within a natural environment) interventions for improving wellbeing, by pooling data collected at the start and end of participants' engagement with a range of GE interventions. Hypotheses were that (i) interventions would show good efficacy for improving wellbeing in the overall sample; (ii) compared to participants reporting 'average to high' wellbeing at the start of their project, participants with 'low' starting wellbeing would report greater improvements post-intervention; and (iii) improvements would significantly differ between age groups. The pooled dataset was categorized in line with UK norms (= 318) and analyzed using a standardized meta-analysis approach. Effect size was large: g = 0.812 (95% CI [0.599, 1.025]), and differences in wellbeing changes associated with project duration, age or sex were not statistically significant. Compared to those reporting 'average-high' starting wellbeing, participants reporting 'low' starting wellbeing exhibited greater improvements (BCa 95% CI [-31.8, -26.5]), with 60.8% moving into the 'average-high' wellbeing category. GE can play an important role in facilitating wellbeing and can provide alternative pathways for health and social care practice. Public health commissioners should consider integrating such interventions for patients experiencing low wellbeing or associated comorbidities.