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Where to put your best foot forward: Psycho-physiological responses to walking in natural and urban environments

GIDLOW, Christopher and JONES, Marc and HURST, Gemma and MASTERSON, Daniel and CLARK-CARTER, David and Tarvainen, Mika and SMITH, Graham and Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark (2016) Where to put your best foot forward: Psycho-physiological responses to walking in natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 45. pp. 22-29. ISSN 0272-4944

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Abstract or description

There is convergent evidence that natural environments allow restoration from stress. This randomised, cross-over field-based trial compared psychological and physiological responses of unstressed individuals to self-paced 30-minute walks in three pleasant environments: residential (urban), natural (green), and natural with water (blue). Changes from baseline (T1) to T2 (end of 30-minute walk), and T3 (30 minutes after leaving environment) were measured in terms of mood, cognitive function, restoration experiences, salivary cortisol, and heart rate variability (HRV). In the final sample (n=38; 65% male; mean age 40.9±17.6 years), mood and cortisol improved at T2 and T3 in all environments. Green and blue environments were associated with greater restoration experiences, and cognitive function improvements that persisted at T3. Stress reduction (mood and cortisol changes) in all environments points to the salutogenic effect of walking, but natural environments conferred additional cognitive benefits lasting at least 30 minutes after leaving the environment.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
C800 Psychology
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Health Sciences > Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Christopher GIDLOW
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 10:28
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 10:28
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/2296

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