Welcome to our final instalment of the evidence exercise. Thanks for sticking with us over the last nine weeks, and if you are just joining us now, be sure to have a look at the rest of our videos!
This week we are going to take a walk in our local park to show you some examples of activities that count towards the NHS’s recommended physical activity for adults (NHS Choices, 2013).
As we have mentioned throughout this series, there are many different forms of physical activity that all have their own specific benefits for our health. Activities like cycling, running or even brisk walking are examples of aerobic exercise, which have numerous benefits for our cardiovascular system (the heart, veins/arteries, and lungs) (Joyner, 2000, Li and Siegrist, 2012, Myers, 2003) as well as some benefits for our bones and muscles too. Other forms of physical activity such as resistance training (weight training) and tai-chi are also good for developing strength in our muscles (Sale, 1988), the density of our bones (Watson et al., 2015), or improving balance as we have discussed previously (Zeng et al., 2015).
Many people struggle to find the time or the place to engage in such activities regularly. But if you are lucky enough to live near a public park or a large area of greenspace, this can be a perfect location to take part in many forms of physical activity, be it walking, cycling, tai-chi or playing team sports. In fact, some researchers are starting to believe that outdoor exercise has an even greater effect on mental health and wellbeing than indoor exercise has (especially in areas surrounded by nature such as woodland, lochs/rivers and country parks) (Barton and Pretty, 2010, Thompson Coon et al., 2011). However, as with all the new research we have presented in this series, we still can’t be 100% about this until more research has been done to confirm these findings.
We hope you have both enjoyed and learned something new from the Evidence Exercise. Our aim was to try show why the NHS recommends the amount/type of physical activity that it does, and show that the recommendations are supported by scientific evidence. Physical activity is an area of research which is constantly evolving, and as it does, so too will the recommendations of healthcare professionals. We hope to be able to share more evidence of the benefits of physical activity with you in the future!
BARTON, J. & PRETTY, J. 2010. What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental science & technology, 44, 3947-3955.
JOYNER, M. J. 2000. Effect of exercise on arterial compliance. Circulation, 102, 1214-1215.
LI, J. & SIEGRIST, J. 2012. Physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease—a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. International journal of environmental research and public health, 9, 391-407.
MYERS, J. 2003. Exercise and cardiovascular health. Circulation, 107, e2-e5.
NHS CHOICES. 2013. Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults [Online]. HealthUnlocked. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx.
SALE, D. G. 1988. Neural adaptation to resistance training. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 20, S135-45.
THOMPSON COON, J., BODDY, K., STEIN, K., WHEAR, R., BARTON, J. & DEPLEDGE, M. H. 2011. Does participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review. Environmental science & technology, 45, 1761-1772.
WATSON, S., WEEKS, B., WEIS, L., HORAN, S. & BECK, B. 2015. Heavy resistance training is safe and improves bone, function, and stature in postmenopausal women with low to very low bone mass: novel early findings from the LIFTMOR trial. Osteoporosis International, 26, 2889-2894.
ZENG, R., LIN, J., WU, S., CHEN, L., CHEN, S., GAO, H., ZHENG, Y. & MA, H. 2015. A randomized controlled trial: Preoperative home-based combined Tai Chi and Strength Training (TCST) to improve balance and aerobic capacity in patients with total hip arthroplasty (THA). Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, 60, 265-271.
“The Evidence Exercise” is a nine-part series focusing on the research and evidence for including physical activity in our lives.
You can watch the series here on the SCPHRP website or subscribe to the SCPHRP YouTube channel to be alerted when new videos go up. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for behind the scenes photos and information.
Made with funding from The University of Edinburgh’s ‘Innovation Initiative Grant’.