chapter  4
9 Pages

How to get more out of the green exercise experience: insights from attention restoration theory


A nagging injury and the approach of winter prompted Emily to join a local gym. At first, it seemed like a great idea. A few of her friends were members, there was lots of fancy exercise equipment, and venturing out into the cold was never something she really looked forward to. Exercise was generally something that Emily enjoyed, but after a few months at the gym working out began to feel more and more like a monotonous chore. While the time she logged on the ‘dreadmill’ kept her in shape, she didn’t feel as mentally refreshed and clearheaded as when she was running outside. In fact, she found herself constantly craving for breaks in the weather so she could escape the gym and get out into nature. This got Emily wondering whether there was something special about exercising in nature. Could outdoor exercise really make her feel better? If so, were there certain types of outdoor settings that might be especially beneficial? She did seem to have lots of good ideas during her runs through the nature preserve. Maybe she should make more of an effort to get outside even when there was a little chill in the air?