Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature

Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature

Richard M. Ryana, , , Netta Weinsteine, Jessey Bernsteinb, Kirk Warren Brownc, Louis Mistrettaa and Marylène Gagnéd

a Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, RC Box 270266, Rochester, NY 14627, USA

b Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue, Montréal, Québec H3A 1B, Canada

c Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 808 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA

d Department of Management, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8, Canada

e Universität Hamburg, Fachbereich Psychologie, Pädagogische Psychologie und Motivation, Von-Melle-Park 5, D-20146 Hamburg, Deutschland


Five studies utilizing survey, experimental, and diary methods assessed the effects of being outdoors on subjective vitality.

In Study 1, we used a vignette method to examine whether being outdoors was associated with vitality, above and beyond the influences of physical activity and social interactions.

Study 2 explored the effects of being outdoors on vitality through an experimental design contrasting indoor and outdoor walks.

In Study 3, participants were exposed to photographic scenes of either nature or buildings. Results showed that only the nature scenes enhanced subjective vitality.

Studies 4 and 5 used a diary methodology to examine within-person variations in subjective energy as a function of being outdoors, again controlling for physical and social activity.

Being outdoors was associated with greater vitality, a relation that was mediated by the presence of natural elements. Limitations of these studies are discussed, as well as their implications for research on energy and vitalization.

Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 159-168, June 2010.

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