Affective changes in different physical environments and the effects of “Green Exercise”. A mixed method approach

Sungho Kwon *, Keunchul Lee ** and Jihoon Ahn *

(*) Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University, South Korea
(**) Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, USA

Based on the attention restoration theory (ART), we investigated affective differences between participants exercising in different physical environments (indoors/forest) during the pre-, intra-, and post-exercise stages. From these results, we identified and categorized the effects of “green exercise” in depth. We measured the affect of 12 participants at all exercise stages in different environments via the two-dimensional circumplex model and in-depth interviews. When participants exercised in the forest, they showed greater intra-exercise positive affect than did when exercising indoors. A striking difference in affective states was also observed in post-exercise recovery. Using these results, we divided the effects of green exercise into four categories: (1) positive effect of the natural environment, (2) desensitization to time perception during exercise, (3) positive sensory experience, and (4) positive affect during post-exercise recovery. Thus, physical environment has a primary influence on exercise participants’ affective states and may influence participants’ involvement in and adherence to exercise.

Keywords: Attention restoration theory, Dual-mode model, Affective responses