Jogging in the park healthiest for kids

Researchers have suggested that children who are exposed to scenes of nature while exercising are more likely to experience health-enhancing effects after activity.Sports science academics in the University’s Department of Applied Sciences and Health asked kids aged 9-10 years to complete a series of 15 minute moderate intensity cycling activities – one whilst viewing a video of a forest track synced to the exercise bike and another with no visual stimulus.The researchers found that after the ‘green exercise’ the children’s post-activity blood pressure was significantly lower than it was without the simulated forest envi-ronment, indicating that the nature scenes pro-moted positive health effects.Data showed that the children’s mean sys-tolic blood pressure – the pressure in the ar-teries when the heart beats – was 97.2 mmHg a quarter of an hour af-ter green exercise, com-pared with 102.7 mmHg after normal activity (over 5 per cent lower).Lower blood pressure is normally associated with a lower risk of devel-oping health problems, whereas high blood pressure – also known as hy-pertension – is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.Dr Michael Duncan, lead author of the study and associate head of the Department of Applied Sciences and Health at Coventry University, said that hypertension is a chronic health problem across the world, so given the results they’ve seen in our study it’s crucial that we continue to try to understand the role physical activity and – in particular – green exercise plays in blood pressure.The study has been published in the International Journal of Environ-mental Research and Public Health.