Physical, psychological and emotional effects of nature-based affordances of green physical activity

YEH, Hsiao-Pu (2017). Physical, psychological and emotional effects of nature-based affordances of green physical activity. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

Yeh_2018_phd_PhysicalPsychologicalEmotional.pdf - Accepted Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (4MB) | Preview
Link to published version::


Physical inactivity and mental disorders are considered to be two urgent health challenges and strongly associated with non-communicable diseases in today's highly urbanised society (World Health Organization, 2010a). Green Physical Activity (PA) is suggested to be a tangible means to effectively promote physical health and mental wellbeing for urban residents (Pretty, 2004). In order to increase the probability of application for a wider urban population, this thesis focused on the first level of green PA (viewing nature indoors) for designing indoor PA environment. Lacking an appropriate underpinning theoretical framework, the ecological dynamics theory was proposed to guide the experimental setting and offer theoretical explanations. The aim was to examine the experience and effects of nature-based affordances for green PA. A theory-guided PA setting was created to examine varying richness of nature-based information (dynamic or static images, presence of visual-only or visual-acoustic information, single or multiple videos) with qualitative and quantitative data collected and compared to a more representative PA environment in three studies. The same physical measurements were made in all PA conditions, including heart rate, estimates of energy expenditure, speed, distance and rated perceived exertion. Responses to two questionnaires for psychological and emotional assessments were recorded, along with follow-up interviews with a sub-sample of participants in each study. In Study 1, three PA conditions that were designed included: two types of visual-only nature information (involving a dynamic and a static nature image) and use of self-selected entertainment to examine the physical, psychological and emotional effects and experiences of participants. A group of 30 individuals with diverse demographic backgrounds were recruited (mean ± SD: age 27.5 ± 9 years; mass 67.6 ± 11.1 kg; stature 173.7 ± 8.2 cm; BMI 22.2 ± 2.1) and completed all trials. Sixteen participants of the same group took part in follow-up interviews. Findings suggested that the appropriateness of nature information for treadmill running was vital for PA quality and experience because strong engagement with the dynamic image had positive and negative effects. Study 2 explored further the significance of the dynamic images effects on participants during physical activity. Another two types of nature information were investigated with increasing richness of information resources (a collection of ten short dynamic images with and without sounds) compared to an audio-only self-selected entertainment using the same measurements. A mixed-background group of 24 participants were recruited (mean ± SD: age 30 ± 6.9 years; mass 68.1 ± 10.7 kg; stature 172.0 ± 8.6 cm; BMI 23.0 ± 2.9) and completed all trials. Eight participants took part in follow-up interviews. Results indicated that personal preferences and the diversity of nature information presented in the dynamic images were proposed to be influential factors to when designing indoor PA environment. In both studies, running with diverse nature videos with sound was found to provide the most beneficial PA environment for a bout of running for 20-minutes. A preliminary study (Study 3) was performed to examine whether these effects might last for an extended period of time. Participant experiences were investigated when undertaking PA with multiple nature videos (9 participants) or with self-selected music (6 participants) over a longer experimental period (6 weeks). All 15 participants completed the follow-up interviews. No physical performance differences were observed, but the nature group reported greater psychological benefits and the music group reported that they received emotional benefits improvement. In terms of experience, participants developed their personally-favoured PA behaviours over time when running with rich and diverse nature-based information but no such observation was found in the music group. Overall, this programme of research endorses the benefits of green PA designed for an indoor environment between one to six weeks. Findings suggested that the essential considerations included the diversity of nature information a used in dynamic displays, with inclusion of nature sounds. Results highlighted that personal preferences of nature information are important when designing green PA programmes for promoting physical health and mental wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Davids, Keith [0000-0003-1398-6123]
Additional Information: Supervisor: Professor Keith Davids.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2018 10:58
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics