Green Exercise

In a paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, researchers from the University of Essex confirmed something that most of us bicycle riders already knew intuitively: as little as five minutes a day of exercise in a natural environment can improve mental health. The activities studied included walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming. From the study:

Our findings suggest that exercise in pleasant environments may have a greater effect than
exercise alone on blood pressure, an important measure of cardiovascular health, and on
measures that are relevant to mental health. We conclude that green exercise has important
implications for public and environmental health. A fitter and emotionally more content
population would clearly cost the economy less as well as reducing individual human

Read the study [PDF] →

7 Responses to “Green Exercise”

  • Fergie348 says:

    On my regular commute from work (San Francisco) to home (Fairfax, CA) I ride right by a fitness studio in Mill Valley that has an outdoor spin class. I always invite the spinners to ride home with me, and usually I get a rather nonplussed reaction. What is it about spinning that people find so compelling? I have lots of people tell me they go to spinning class who say they would never consider road riding.

  • Steve Butcher says:

    Cycling seems to provide a “therapeutic” benefit for me; but, oh how I long for bicycle lanes where I live!

  • Jonathan says:

    Great results from the study. Even more, other studies have shown that taking a new route will fire new neurons in your brain, stimulate your brain more, and add to improving mental wellness/cerebral function. So take the long way home!

  • sbcommute says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the findings. When I started commuting by bike (just a couple of months ago). I expected all the physical benefits – better health, daily exorcise, good for the heart…. bla bla bla. But I have been really blow away by the psychological benefits. I’m in a great mood most of the day (even at work), I crack jokes, I chit chat with friends, and on and on. Now you might say that it’s the endorphins, but the fact of the matter is that I was getting quite a bit of exorcise prior to commuting by bike -jogging.

    So I get it now, it has certainly caused a fundamental shift in my daily attitude. Now that i know what i know… i can never go back.

  • Joe says:


    Good point. After a long bad day, or a busy stressful day, the long way home is the key to making it all go away. Even if the weathers nice, I will take the long way there, if I have time. Nothing like a good lazy ride home to top off the day. Well, maybe a stop for coffee too…lol

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Why We Ride says:

    […] the feeling of well-being that comes with physical activity in the out-of-doors; […]

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