Effects on participants’ self esteem, mood and connection to nature pre and post session study

In document The environmental impacts and wellbeing benefits of sport: Assessing spectator and participant dominated sports in England (Page 182-186)

6. Participant dominated sport-Effects of running on mental wellbeing and connection to nature

6.4.2 Effects on participants’ self esteem, mood and connection to nature pre and post session study

Self-esteem

The finding of this study shows that self-esteem of participants significantly improved over time and both scores (before and after) were within the normal threshold scores of 15-25 (Rosenberg, 1965).This finding suggests that participating in running results in positively enhancing self-esteem. Similar increases in self-esteem as a result of participating in exercise in nature that provides additive benefits for self-esteem have been reported (Barton et al., 2012;

García-Martínez et al., 2012; Randall et al., 2014; Wood et al., 2014; Júnior et al., 2015) and

Chapter 6. Participant dominated sport-Effects of running on mental wellbeing and connection to nature

183 highlighted in chapter 1. Self-esteem was significantly higher in lone participants than group participants; there are no other examples in the published literature to compare self-esteem scores of runners between lone and group participants.

Mood

Overall mood was significantly different over time, the TMD scores (mood) improved over the running session with an overall improvement after the session. Significant overall improvement in mood after participating in exercise has been reported in past studies (Barton et al., 2012;

Annesi et al., 2015; Guimaraes et al., 2015; Vancini et al., 2015). The findings from this study show significant interaction between time (pre and post), running condition (lone and group) and age. Overall mood improves over time in participants who run alone between 18-30 years compared to participants who run in a group. Participants who ran alone started with poorer moods but experienced a larger improvement in overall mood after their running session.

However, overall mood improved over time in participants who ran in group in ages 31 years and above compared to participants who ran alone. Participants who ran in group started with a poorer mood but experienced a larger improvement in overall mood after their running session, this findings is similar to past research (Ensari et al., 2016). Tension, vigour and confusion improved significantly after running session, comparable to other studies (Lofrano-Prado et al., 2012; Annesi et al., 2015) but improvement in depression, anger and fatigue levels were not significant.

Connectedness to nature

The finding of this study shows that connection to nature significantly improved over time. It suggests that higher scores after running sessions indicate higher degrees of connection to nature. This finding is in line with other studies (Cervinka and Corraliza, 2011; Terry et al., 2012). Reports have shown that increase in physical activities in natural environments improves physical health, improves mood and self-esteem (Gladwell et al., 2013; Bratman et al., 2015).

However, the findings show that connection to nature was not affected by other independent

Chapter 6. Participant dominated sport-Effects of running on mental wellbeing and connection to nature

variables. CNS was not affected by running condition, indicating that there was no difference between lone and group participants. CNS was not affected by gender; there was no difference between male and female participants. CNS was not different with age, indicating that participants across the two age groups had similar CNS scores. This study shows no interaction effect between time, running condition, gender and age.

6.4.3 Limitations

The pre and post study was designed to examine changes in self-esteem, mood and connection to nature of participants in outdoor running environments over time (pre-post) under two conditions (alone and group) and to examine any interaction effects between time, running conditions and other independent variables. The results of this study gave some quantitative analysis to the importance of physical activities such as running in natural environments resulting in improved physical health, mood and self-esteem of participants. However, there are limitations to the study:

 Whilst around forty-two participants started the study, for a variety of different reasons,

not all completed the sessions. This could have adversely affected the analysis if not for the large completion rate of participants who completed all the sessions.

 Although the weather condition was favourable for most of the sessions, a running

session scheduled for group participants was rescheduled due to unfavourable weather conditions and getting the participants to run in a group was difficult but was later achieved, this delayed data collection and analysis.

6.4.4 Conclusions

The pre and post effect study showed that outdoor running has a positive impact on self-esteem, there was a significant increase in self-esteem after running sessions and self-esteem was higher in lone runners than in group runners. There was an overall improvement in the mood of the participants, which was significant; there were significant improvements in three-mood subscale post run (tension, vigour and confusion) and no significant difference for the

Chapter 6. Participant dominated sport-Effects of running on mental wellbeing and connection to nature

185 other mood subscales post run (depression, anger and fatigue). Connection to nature increased post run regardless of running condition (i.e. lone or group run) and no interaction effects were significant. This study show that green exercise particularly running outdoors led to significant improvement in self-esteem, total mood disturbance and connectedness to nature all improving post exercise. Thus running outdoors generated mental health benefits, indicating the potential for a wider health and wellbeing dividend from green exercise. Exercise or physical activities such as running thus have important implications for public and environmental health and for a wide range of policy sectors.

Chapter 7. General Discussion

In document The environmental impacts and wellbeing benefits of sport: Assessing spectator and participant dominated sports in England (Page 182-186)

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