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Open AccessArticle

Effect of an Additional 30 Minutes Spent Outdoors during Summer on Daily Steps and Individually Experienced Heat Index

1
Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health (TBMH), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2
Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35205, USA
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Department of Geospatial Informatics, Troy University, Troy, AL 36082, USA
5
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207558
Received: 5 September 2020 / Revised: 14 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space, Place and Health Outcomes)
Spending time outdoors is associated with increased physical activity; however, high ambient temperature/humidity, together with built environment features in urban versus rural environments, may influence physical activity. We conducted an intervention trial with 89 urban and 88 rural participants performing normal activities on Days 1–2 (baseline) and spending an additional 30 min outdoors on Days 3–7 (intervention) in the summer. Participants wore a pedometer with real-time visual feedback to track daily steps taken and a thermometer clipped to their shoe to track temperatures experienced individually. Hygrometer–thermometers were deployed in participants’ neighborhoods to collect finer resolution ambient heat indexes in addition to regional weather station measurements. Using linear mixed effects models and adjusting for ambient conditions and individual-level factors, participants on average walked 637 (95%CI (83, 1192)) more steps and had a 0.59 °C (95%CI (0.30, 0.88)) lower daily mean individually experienced heat index during intervention days compared to baseline days. The intervention benefit of increased physical activity was greater in rural residents who were less active at baseline, compared to urban residents. Our results suggest adding a small amount of additional time outdoors may improve physical activity without increasing participants’ heat exposure, even during summer in a humid subtropical climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: time spent outdoors; daily steps; summer temperature; wearable thermometer; physical activity time spent outdoors; daily steps; summer temperature; wearable thermometer; physical activity
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Wang, S.; Richardson, M.B.; Wu, C.Y.; Zaitchik, B.F.; Gohlke, J.M. Effect of an Additional 30 Minutes Spent Outdoors during Summer on Daily Steps and Individually Experienced Heat Index. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7558.

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