Designing physical activity environments to enhance physical and psychological effects
- Publisher: Elsevier
Understanding how best to accrue benefits from designing physical activity and exercise programmes is needed to tackle global health problems related to physical inactivity and poor mental health. Some studies have implicated an important role for green exercise and physical\ud activity, but there is a lack of clarity in current research. Therefore, more work is needed to understand how to design green physical activity and exercise environments that afford (invite) physical and psychological benefits to individuals. We examined whether exercising while\ud viewing a dynamic or static image of a scene from nature would offer different affordances (invitations for behaviours to emerge), compared to the common conditions of self-selected entertainment. For this purpose, 30 participants (18 males and 12 females; age 27.5 ± 9 yrs; mass 67.6 ± 11.1 kg; stature 173.7 ± 8.2 cm) exercised in three experimental conditions in a counterbalanced design while: (i) viewing a video of a green environment, (ii) viewing a single static image of the green environment; and (iii), when using typical self-selected entertainment without viewing images of nature. A twenty-minute treadmill run was undertaken at the participants' own self-selected speed in a laboratory while energy expenditure and psychological states (using PANAS) were assessed. Results showed no differences in energy expenditure (p > .05) or\ud negative affect (p > .05) between conditions. However, data revealed significant differences in positive affect when participants ran with astatic image and their own entertainment compared to running with a dynamic image. Results revealed how differences in affordances designed\ud into physical activity environments can shape psychological states that emerge during exercise. Further research is needed on affordance design in physical activity and exercise by engineers, designers, planners and psychologists to explore effects of a range of simulated environments, with different target groups, such as fit and unfit individuals, elderly and children.