A study was published this week that shows that Green Exercise (GE) has significantly greater psychological wellbeing benefits than the non-GE equivalent. Green Exercise refers to physical activity conducted whilst simultaneously engaging the natural environment.
The research paper entitled: ‘The world is best experienced at 18 mph’. The psychological wellbeing effects of cycling in the countryside: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis’ was published in the Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health journal.
The paper was written by Oliver F. Glackin and James T. Beale of the School of Health Sport and Bioscience, University of East London, London, UK and their study sought to understand the lived experience of a group of serious male recreational road cyclists aged between mid-30s and early 50s who routinely rode in the countryside.
Eleven cyclists participated in semi-structured interviews and data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis which is an approach to psychological qualitative research which aims to offer insights into how a given person, in a given context, makes sense of a given phenomenon.
According to the paper’s abstract: “Findings indicate that green-cycling served to enhance the participants’ sense of wellbeing and in doing so helped them cope with the mental challenges associated with their lives. It is suggested that green-cycling merges the essential qualities of natural surroundings – including its aesthetic, feelings of calm and a chance for exploration – with the potential for physical challenge and, facilitated by modern technology, opportunities for prosocial behaviours.
“It also identifies how green-cycling may influence self-determined behaviours towards exercise regulation, suggesting more satisfying and enduring exercise experiences.”
The paper can be accessed through this link.