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.