FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Tue Oct 26 16:42:03 EDT 2010

New American Chemical Society podcast: “Green exercise” for good mental health

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2010 — Just five minutes of outdoor activity — such as exercising in a park, working in a backyard garden or walking on a nature trail — is good for the brain, with tangible benefits for mental health, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.”

The new Global Challenges podcast and website describe scientific research indicating that physical activity in natural areas, known as ‘green’ exercise, can lead to improvements in mental health. The research appeared in a report in the ACS journal, Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T). ES&T also published a news article on the study.

In the study, Jules Pretty and Jo Barton, Ph.D., of the University of Essex in the United Kingdom (U.K.), analyzed data on the physical activities of 1,252 people of different ages, genders and mental health status in the U.K. The scientists showed that just five minutes of exercise in a green nature setting can boost mood and self-esteem.

The new podcast is available without charge at iTunes and from ACS at www.acs.org/globalchallenges. ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations, and others to embed links to Global Challenges on their websites. Recent podcasts in the series include the importance of hand-washing to stop the spread of disease; nanotechnology for more sustainable buildings and other structures; and producing cost-effective biodiesel from sewage sludge.

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is a series of podcasts describing some of the 21st Century’s most daunting problems, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. Global Challenges is the centerpiece in an alliance on sustainability between ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry. It includes topics such as providing a hungry, thirsty world with ample supplies of nutritious food and clean water; developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel society; preserving the environment and assuring a sustainable future for our children; and improving human health.

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Credit: Michael Bernstein, ACS