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Nancy Schimelpfening

Go Green to Beat the Blues

By May 15, 2007

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According to new research, getting exercise outdoors in a green environment may be beneficial to depression.

Mind, a British mental health charity, has released a report entitled Ecotherapy: the green agenda for mental health. This report discusses the results of a study which looked at the effect of "green exercise" on mental health issues.

In the study, a walk in a country park was compared to a walk in an indoor shopping center. What they found was:

  • 71 percent reported decreased levels of depression after walking in the park
  • Only 45 percent said they felt better after walking in the shopping center and 22 percent felt their depression was worse
  • 71 percent said they felt less tense after the green walk
  • 50 percent said their feelings of tension had increased after walking in the the shopping center
  • 90 per cent had increased self-esteem after the the green walk
  • 44 per cent said their self-esteem decreased after walking in the shopping center

Based upon this and similar studies, Mind is calling for ecotherapy to be recognized in the UK as a valid frontline treatment for mental health problems. Ecotherapy could involve such simple activities as taking a walk in a park, flying a kite or participating in a gardening therapy project.

Comments
May 16, 2007 at 10:23 am
(1) Steph says:

As a long term sufferer from depression, I support this theroy 100%. I will always need medication for my depression, but I do find that when my mood starts to dip, if I stay indoors I definately feel my depression becomes more intense and I fall into a “hole” and I find it hard to get myself out of it. However, I live by the sea, and find that if I go for a walk along the promenade, or a walk in the park I definately don’t get to the stage where I am in the “hole” and do feel less stressed and upset.

I hate shopping centres and find shopping one of the most horrible experiences ever – thank God for on-line shopping!!

I also find that going to my relatives small farm is very uplifting. Especially looking after the animals – maybe this is due to unconditional love from the animals, and an outdoor activity combined.

May 16, 2007 at 10:24 am
(2) Steph says:

As a long term sufferer from depression, I support this theroy 100%. I will always need medication for my depression, but I do find that when my mood starts to dip, if I stay indoors I definately feel my depression becomes more intense and I fall into a “hole” and I find it hard to get myself out of it. However, I live by the sea, and find that if I go for a walk along the promenade, or a walk in the park I definately don’t get to the stage where I am in the “hole” and do feel less stressed and upset.

I hate shopping centres and find shopping one of the most horrible experiences ever – thank God for on-line shopping!!

I also find that going to my relatives small farm is very uplifting. Especially looking after the animals – maybe this is due to unconditional love from the animals, and an outdoor activity combined.

May 16, 2007 at 10:24 am
(3) Steph says:

As a long term sufferer from depression, I support this theroy 100%. I will always need medication for my depression, but I do find that when my mood starts to dip, if I stay indoors I definately feel my depression becomes more intense and I fall into a “hole” and I find it hard to get myself out of it. However, I live by the sea, and find that if I go for a walk along the promenade, or a walk in the park I definately don’t get to the stage where I am in the “hole” and do feel less stressed and upset.

I hate shopping centres and find shopping one of the most horrible experiences ever – thank God for on-line shopping!!

I also find that going to my relatives small farm is very uplifting. Especially looking after the animals – maybe this is due to unconditional love from the animals, and an outdoor activity combined.

May 16, 2007 at 10:27 am
(4) Steph says:

Sorry! I have no idea why my comment published 3 times!!

May 22, 2007 at 1:57 am
(5) Recovery Dude says:

I would also agree with this study. I have been to the gym and took walks and jogs around the track but never felt nearly as good as when I did those activities outdoors. I think just being out in the open and enjoying the scenery in most cases will have a way better effect. My favorite walk to take is just right up the hill a couple of blocks from my house. When I get to the top of the hill I have reached a fairly good but light exercise workout and then I get to look over the whole town and see for miles. It is great and far better than walking laps in a mall or on a track!

http://www.RecoveryTalk.org

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