Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5603-5628; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115603
Article

Walking for Well-Being: Are Group Walks in Certain Types of Natural Environments Better for Well-Being than Group Walks in Urban Environments?

1 Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Queens Building, the Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK 2 The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK 3 University of Michigan Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, 1018 Fuller Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 April 2013; in revised form: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 October 2013 / Published: 29 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
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Abstract: The benefits of walking in natural environments for well-being are increasingly understood. However, less well known are the impacts different types of natural environments have on psychological and emotional well-being. This cross-sectional study investigated whether group walks in specific types of natural environments were associated with greater psychological and emotional well-being compared to group walks in urban environments. Individuals who frequently attended a walking group once a week or more (n = 708) were surveyed on mental well-being (Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale), depression (Major Depressive Inventory), perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale) and emotional well-being (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule). Compared to group walks in urban environments, group walks in farmland were significantly associated with less perceived stress and negative affect, and greater mental well-being. Group walks in green corridors were significantly associated with less perceived stress and negative affect. There were no significant differences between the effect of any environment types on depression or positive affect. Outdoor walking group programs could be endorsed through “green prescriptions” to improve psychological and emotional well-being, as well as physical activity.
Keywords: natural environment; green space; well-being; Walking for Health; walking group; walking; green exercise; England; UK

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MDPI and ACS Style

Marselle, M.R.; Irvine, K.N.; Warber, S.L. Walking for Well-Being: Are Group Walks in Certain Types of Natural Environments Better for Well-Being than Group Walks in Urban Environments? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 5603-5628.

AMA Style

Marselle MR, Irvine KN, Warber SL. Walking for Well-Being: Are Group Walks in Certain Types of Natural Environments Better for Well-Being than Group Walks in Urban Environments? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(11):5603-5628.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marselle, Melissa R.; Irvine, Katherine N.; Warber, Sara L. 2013. "Walking for Well-Being: Are Group Walks in Certain Types of Natural Environments Better for Well-Being than Group Walks in Urban Environments?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 11: 5603-5628.

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