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Psycho-physiological responses of repeated exposure to natural and urban environments

Jones, Marc, Gidlow, Christopher, Hurst, Gemma, Materson, Daniel, Smith, Graham, Ellis, Naomi, Clark-Carter, David, Tarvainen, Mika, Braithwaite, Elizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4902-2262 and Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark (2021) Psycho-physiological responses of repeated exposure to natural and urban environments. Landscape and Urban Planning, 209. ISSN 0169-2046

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Abstract

The ‘dose’ of nature required for health benefits, and whether repeat visits to the same environment consistently confer health benefits, is unclear. We sought to provide proof of concept for testing this. Data were collected on repeated visits to either a natural or pleasant urban environment from 41 adults on three days, and at one follow-up assessment. Participants completed baseline profiling, then attended; three repeated visits to either an urban (n = 17) or natural (n = 24) environment; and a 24-hour post-exposure final session. In each environment, participants undertook a 30-minute walk at a self-directed pace. Measures included mood, cognitive function, restorative experience and salivary cortisol. Walking in both environments conferred benefits for mood, with additional improvements in restorative experience observed from visiting the natural environment. There was no change in response to visits to the natural environment over time, suggesting benefits may be consistently realized.

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