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There are clear advantages to exercising in green environments.  Wooller and colleagues determined that when “Fifty participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups: REST [sitting quietly on a cycle ergometer in front of a gray screen], exercise, exercise with nature sounds, exercise withnature visual and exercise with nature sound and visual. . . . Results showed that green exercise improved mood and stress scores more than exercise alone or REST. For both TMD [total mood disturbance] and perceived stress, improvements in all simulated nature conditions were significantly improved compared to REST or exercise alone immediately post intervention.”

John Wooller, Mike Rogerson, Jo Barton, Dominic Micklewright, and Valerie Gladwell. 2018.  “Can Simulated Green Exercise Improve Recovery from Acute Mental Stress?”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, article 2167, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02167

Zolch and colleagues studied how the presence of plants influences comfort in public squares, and their findings are applicable in many outdoor spaces.  The team learned that “At daytime designs with a maximum shaded area provide best thermal conditions. . . . At night unhindered air flow and reduced heat storage in meadows performed best.”  More details on the Zolch-lead study: “The present study assessed typical greening designs of rectangular public squares and their microclimatic influences during a hot summer day both during day and night-time conditions. . . . for a comfortable thermal situation a climate adapted design has to include trees to maximize the shaded surface areas, while the main wind channel is kept free from trees, but planted with grass to minimize the heat storage. The number of trees and their placement together with the extent and placement of grass areas can thus serve as indicators for designing climate adapted public squares.”

Teresa Zolch, Mohammad Rahman, Elisabeth Pfleiderer, Georg Wagner, and Stephan Pauleit.  “Designing Public Squares with Green Infrastructure to Optimize Human Thermal Comfort.”  Building and Environment, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.12.051

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