This study investigated the acute effects of repeated walking sessions within green and suburban environments on participants’ psychological (anxiety and mood) and cognitive (directed-attention) outcomes. Twenty-three middle-aged adults (19 female) participated in a non-randomized crossover study comprised of once-weekly 50-min moderate-intensity walking sessions. Participants walked for three weeks in each of two treatment conditions: green and suburban, separated by a two-week washout period. Eleven participants completed green walking first and 12 suburban walking first. For each walk, we used validated psychological questionnaires to measure pre-and post-walk scores for: (1) mood, evaluated via the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS); (2) anxiety, assessed by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S); and (3) directed-attention, measured using the visual Backwards Digit Span test (BDS). Repeated measures linear mixed models assessed pre-to post-walk changes within-treatment conditions and post-walk contrasts between-treatment conditions. Results indicated that anxiety decreased after green walking and increased after suburban walking (−1.8 vs. +1.1 units, respectively; p = 0.001). For mood, positive affect improved after green walking and decreased after suburban walking (+2.3 vs. −0.3 units, respectively; p = 0.004), and negative affect decreased after green walking and remained similar after suburban walking (−0.5 vs. 0 units, respectively; p = 0.06). Directed-attention did not improve from pre-to post-walk for either condition. Our results suggested that green walking may be more effective at reducing state anxiety and increasing positive affect compared to suburban walking.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||International journal of environmental research and public health|
|State||Published - Aug 2 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Study supported by the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research’s Grant-in-Aid Program (PI: M.A.P.). The HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau provided support for the training of J.N.d.B. (Grant No. 5 T79MC00007-31-00). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provided support for the training of Z.C.P. via T32HL007779.. Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank all study participants for their time and the research assistant Sarah Seidl for her dedication.
Funding: Study supported by the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research’s Grant-in-Aid Program (PI: M.A.P.). The HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau provided support for the training of J.N.d.B. (Grant No. 5 T79MC00007-31-00). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provided support for the training of Z.C.P. via T32HL007779.
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Green exercise
- Physical activity