|Published online: March 7, 2014||$US5.00|
Green exercise is defined as any physical activity that occurs in natural settings. Emerging research suggests the synergistic benefits of exercising while being exposed to nature has emotionally and mentally restorative properties—significantly more so than exercise alone. People with acute mental distress can have reoccurring admissions to in-patient psychiatric facilities. In-patient facilities are usually locked units and are often perceived as restrictive. Participation in green exercise programs in this setting has the potential to enhance consumers’ sense of space and freedom, and reduce anxiety and stress. Additional benefits may include improved mood, sense of achievement, and opportunities for social interaction and community connectedness. Further, the physiological benefits gained from participation in green exercise are important for this population. People with mental distress mostly have sedentary lifestyles and use medications with side effects including weight gain, placing them at increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Despite the potential benefits of green exercise, little research has specifically looked at its impact for people with mental distress in acute psychiatric settings. Research in this area is warranted to promote best practice. Psychiatric facilities providing consumers with opportunities to gain knowledge and learn skills to manage their own symptoms, and increase their sense of personal control and self-efficacy, are aligned with the tenants of positive psychology and the recovery framework. Green exercise can be used as strategy to meet such goals.
|Keywords:||Green Exercise, In-patient Psychiatric Facility, Mental Distress, Physical Activity|
The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, March 2014, pp.85-97. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 464.068KB)).
Occupational Therapist, Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit , The Sutherland Hospital, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Senior Lecturer, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Australia
Lecturer, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Australia