Investigating the Effects of an Indoor and Green-Outdoor Exercise Environment on University Students’ Mental Well-being.
Research from a variety of scientific fields suggests there to be a positive relationship between regular physical exercise and psychological health. Similarly, viewing and interacting with nature has been reported to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and improve mood and overall well-being. Various studies have contributed evidence to support the concept that combining both physical exercise and nature provide more significant mental well-being benefits, however less in known about how the effect of this affects the mental well-being of university students who are regular exercisers. This study aims to address the methodological gap present in existing research by considering the effect that the prior exercise history of university students has on the mental well-being outcomes of exercising outdoors in a green environment versus indoors. This topic is important for informing the design of student well-being prevention interventions which are currently needed, due to the global decline of psychological health among undergraduate university students. Participants will be selected depending on their physical activity levels and exercise history which will be compared against the UK’s weekly physical activity guidelines. Mental well-being outcomes will be measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWS) at the beginning and at the end of a green-outdoor and indoor exercise programme. Intention for future exercise and preference of exercise setting will be measured using a Likert-scale and open-ended interview questionnaire at the end of the study. The findings will extend on previous work and demonstrate which type of exercise setting provides greater mental well-being benefits for an already active university student population.