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Differences of psychological effects between meditative and athletic walking in a forest and gymnasium

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Several studies have reported that exercise and meditative activities in a forest are more effective than the same activities performed in an urban area. However, few studies have compared the direct effects of exercise to those of meditative activity in a forest and indoors. This study aimed to identify how the effects of the same activity might differ when performed in a forest as opposed to indoors, as well as how the effects of meditative and athletic activities in the same environment might differ. We recruited 139 females between 18 and 25 years of age and distributed the subjects into four groups by random allocation: athletic walking in the gymnasium (AG), athletic walking in the forest (AF), meditative walking in the gymnasium (MG), and meditative walking in the forest (MF). We evaluated the subjects before and after walking, using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-X, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Happiness Index for Koreans. Meditative walking had greater effectiveness on the psychological aspects than athletic walking did in the same environment. Also, walking in the forest increased happiness to a greater degree than walking in the gymnasium at the same pace. Especially meditative walking in the forest was the most effective at increasing happiness.

Keywords: Athletic walking; environment; forest; gymnasium; meditative walking

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry,Yeonkang Hospital, Jeju-do, South Korea 2: Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital,College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea 3: Department of Preventive Medicine,Ewha Women's University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea 4: Department of Nursing,Cheju Halla College, Jeju-do, South Korea 5: Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital,College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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