Run in a Park to Relieve Stress

Working out in nature is more restorative than exercising in a busy city.

Runners, Central Park, New York City.

Runners in Central Park, New York City.     Photo: Patrick Gruban/Wikimedia

If you take a lunchtime run or walk, you'll return to work feeling less stressed if you opt to exercise in a park, suggests a new study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

"Our results show that the large urban park and extensively managed urban woodland had almost the same positive influence," the Finnish researchers reported. "Findings suggest that even short-term visits to nature areas have positive effects on perceived stress relief compared to built-up environment."

The study, which investigated the psychological and physiological effects of short-term visits to urban nature environments, included 76 people in three different environments: a built-up city center, an urban park, and an urban woodland.

Those visiting urban parks (such as Central Park in New York City) and urban woodlands (such as Pre's Trail in Eugene, Oregon) reported a boost in mood, creativity, and vitality compared to those in the concrete jungle, who reported decreased positive feelings.

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