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Research and Projects

Physical activity in outdoor natural environments vs physical activity indoors

Theme: CLAHRC - Healthy People, Healthy Environments
Status: Complete

This review was led by the Evidence Synthesis Team.


Relationships between physical and mental health are well recognised as are the beneficial effects of increased physical activity on mental health.  In recent years interest has grown in the positive benefits that might be gained from natural environments and time spent outdoors. To counteract the fact that we increasingly live in towns and cities (75% of the European population now live in urban environments), efforts are being made to reconnect people with nature. For example, programs such as the Green Gym and the Blue Gym attempt to motivate people to spend more time being active in natural environments thereby improving their physical and psychological health.

The purpose of this systematic review was to help to clarify the added physical and psychological benefits of undertaking physical activity in the natural environment compared with the benefits obtained from performing the same physical activity indoors. 

Further information

For more information view the protocol and the publication.

Others Involved

Joanne Barton, Mike Depledge