Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

5 Minutes Outside Can Boost Your Mood


May. 6, 2010 Rodales Organic Life

The next time you’re looking for a natural mood elevator, turn to nature itself. Research published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology confirms what anyone who’s experienced a sunny-day high already knows: Nature is almost foolproof at boosting your mood and self-esteem. And, amazingly, it only takes five minutes.

THE DETAILS: Professor Jules Pretty and colleagues at the University of Essex in the UK analyzed findings from 10 separate studies that measured self-esteem and mood after people engaged in “green exercise”: cycling, walking, running, gardening, farming, and water-based activities like fishing or sailing. In each of the studies, participants’ self-esteem and mood were measured before and after the activities using a standard psychological test. The Essex researchers also assessed study variables such as exposure time outdoors, exercise intensity, type of green space (urban parks, rural setting, forest, and so forth), as well as subjects’ age and mental-health status.

Regardless of what they were doing or where they were doing it, all subjects saw improvements in self-esteem and mood after exercising outdoors. People saw the greatest self-esteem changes while doing light-intensity exercise and after being outside for just five minutes. The biggest mood changes occurred after light- and vigorous-intensity workouts—also after just five minutes. (Note: Self-esteem and mood continued to improve with longer workouts, but the changes were greatest after five minutes.) Around water seemed the most uplifting places to exercise, and while all age groups saw mood and self-esteem boosts, people between the ages of 30 and 50 experienced the greatest lift.

Read More on Rodales Organic Life

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

Key Insights From 2021's World Happiness Report

Three must-know insights from this year’s World Happiness Report.

Read More

The Power of Gratitude

Focus on what you appreciate to boost your brain, body and spirit.

Read More

The ADHD Owner's Manual for Grown-ups

Wild and wonderful minds living in a neurotypical world.

Read More

Why Practicing Self-Love Isn't Optional But Necessary

Be more compassionate toward themselves and expect respectful treatment from others.

Read More

Black people in rural areas continue to experience health disparities

Comparisons come from rates in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Read More

Creative Strategies from Single Parents on Juggling Work and Family

Flexible work schedules and strong support networks go a long way.

Read More

1 in 4 Americans have no retirement savings

And those who do aren’t saving enough

Read More

The Science of Changing Someone's Mind

How to reason with unreasonable people.

Read More