Have we designed ourselves into the sedentary corner … the green alternative?

Physical inactivity has become one of the most important global health challenges contributing to approximately 3.2 million deaths each year. Regular physical activity is an effective preventative and rehabilitative intervention for over 30 distinct diseases or health conditions. There is now a plethora of programs and policies that educate about physical activity and recommend and promote physical activity around the world. However, despite the prevalence of recommendations and programs it is estimated that only 1 person in every 4 undertakes enough physical activity.

One vital factor that has been generally overlooked is that the modern day environment may not be conducive to some population groups becoming and remaining physically active. In fact the modern day environment might actually be inviting sedentary behaviour. Concerns over public health issues related to physical inactivity may be addressed by designing environments that provide opportunities for different population groups to enhance physical activity levels and gain the health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity. Knowing how to design environments that invite opportunities for physical activity, exercise and play in sedentary individuals is now becoming essential. We need to step away from telling people what to do and move more towards providing environments that support physical activity. Exercise scientists, health professionals, planners, designers and engineers, and psychologists, should collaborate in co-designing environments and playscapes that facilitate physical activity participation in different population sub-groups. Concepts in ecological dynamics emphasise the relationship between the person and their environment. By (re)designing environments that invite physical activity rather than sedentary behaviour we can enhance physical activity and the health benefits of physical activity. It is quite clear from a broad range of research that designing green communities and neighbour hoods will go a long way to increasing physical activity levels and reducing the health issues related to sedentary behaviour.

For more on this issue please read the special edition to be published this year in the journal ‘Sports Medicine’. Online first articles are already available.

 

References

http://paperity.org/p/76265876/designing-environments-to-enhance-physical-and-psychological-benefits-of-physical

http://fcb991b696f563270c39464d67d2c3bd.proxysheep.com/article/10.1007/s40279-016-0511-3

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26330207

PhD opportunity in Mental Health and Adventure

A fully funded PhD opportunity for anyone interested in investigating adventure sports as a mainstream addition to the promotion of wellbeing and prevention of illness.

In England the cost of psychological health problems is about £70-100 billion. According to a recent report by Sport England, despite the common belief that adventure is only linked to risk-taking personalities, over 58% of the UK population enjoy adventure activities. Over 92% of those surveyed reported that participation enhanced wellbeing. Adventure has the potential to be a viable element of the nation’s wellbeing promotion and illness prevention strategy for a range of psychological (and physical) wellbeing measures. This study will use an interdisciplinary approach to mapping and measuring wellbeing benefits of adventure with the aim of testing principled interventions.

If you are interested the full-time sponsored PhD opportunity in Carnegie Faculty of Leeds Beckett university is now live –

http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/research-studentships-and-fees-only-bursaries/

Check the section: Active Lifestyles led by Professor Jim McKenna

The closing date for submissions is midnight Sunday 8th May 2016.

For more details or a chat please contact Eric Brymer:  e.brymer@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Fear is good for your health

In an article published a couple of years ago we proposed that despite being labelled as unpleasant fear could actually be good for you. It is after all just one more emotion, something that provides information that invites a response of some kind. We can either interpret this as bad and react accordingly or on the other hand we could see this as good and as important information. I the first instance we are supposed to be preventing far and avoiding it, perhaps even finding ways to no longer feel fear. Yu may even recognise this as being part of many pop psychology programmes. If we interpret the experience in the second way then fear becomes information like any other information, something that tells us to take the experience seriously. We may then make sure that were really prepared, hat we are ready for the experience, that we have the skills, that the environment is right and so forth.
It is this second aspect that interests me today. I was walking in the woods the other day with my family. We spotted all sorts of wonderful creatures not usually found in an English wood. We saw Tiger pug marks and tracked them for a while and were sure that a Tiger was following us. We came across baby elephant dung, although it could have been rhino? At one stage we even came across an eight foot tall Yeti cunningly disguised as a bush. After about an hour of this my eleven year old son started a conversation about fear. I have been thinking he said about how to see fear, you could use the letters as a memory. F for feeling (are you feeling alright), E for expertise (do you have the right expertise)’ A for Assess the environment (is the environment supportive) and R for right time (even if you assess your attitude, capabilities and the environment as positive, is it the right time?). We then proceeded to see how it might work in a variety of contexts … we were happy with it.
What a wonderful start !!

Another really interesting study exploring the health benefit of connections between people and nature

Subject Title:
Participate in a research study looking into the role of nature in reducing anxiety.

Dear colleagues

Our names are Jessica Nguyen and Jedda Crabtree from the QUT School of Psychology and Counselling. We are currently undertaking research into the role of the natural world in reducing anxiety.

If you’d like to help us in this study, we are looking for participants over the age of 18 who are experiencing some level of anxiety. Participation involves:

• Undertaking a 15 minute online questionnaire at the beginning of the project.
• Listening to two 10 – 15 minute audio recordings, one per week over a period of two weeks. The audio recordings will be sent to you by email and each will consist of a guided imagery experience. You will be asked to fill out a short 2 minute online questionnaire before listening to the audio recording and the same short online questionnaire after listening to the audio recording (4 minutes total).

Further details on the study and how to participate can be found by clicking on the following link:
http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/181303/11b0/

We are also interested in interviewing participants about their experiences. If you would like to participate in an interview, please either leave your contact details in the relevant section of the survey above or contact one of the researchers below. Please note that not all participants who express interest in being interviewed about their experiences will be interviewed.

Should you wish to participate or have any questions, please contact one of the researchers via email.

Please note that this study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1400000683).

Many thanks for your consideration of this request.

Jessica Nguyen
Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate
jessica.nguyen@connect.qut.edu.au

Jedda Crabtree
Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate
jedda.crabtree@connect.qut.edu.au

Eric Brymer
Supervisor
eric.brymer@qut.edu.au
Faculty of Health
Queensland University of Technology

Feeling Connected to nature is good for your Health

Our latest study is published in the 2014 Journal of Health Psychology – Martyn and Brymer (2014). This study found a relationship between feeling connected to nature and low levels of anxiety. We used an online survey consisting of two well-validated questionnaires, a qualitative question and some demographic questions. The two standardised self-report scales were the Nature Relatedness Scale (NRS) and the State Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA). The NRS measures an individual’s affective, cognitive, and physical relationship with the natural world. The scale consists of three subscales measuring personal connection to nature, external worldviews of nature, and physical familiarity with nature.
The State Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA) measures overall anxiety as well as somatic and cognitive aspects of state and trait anxiety. The first part of the scale assesses how people feel at the time of taking the survey (state anxiety) even if it is not how people usually feel, and the second part of the scale predicts situations in which individuals will have elevated anxiety (trait anxiety). We also added a qualitative question “In your own words please tell us what being in nature means to you.”
The quantitative results indicated that connection to nature was significantly related to lower levels of overall, state cognitive and trait cognitive anxiety. Qualitative results revealed seven themes; relaxation, time out, enjoyment, connection, expanse, sensory engagement and a healthy perspective. Taken together these results suggest that opportunities which enhance experiences of being connected to nature may reduce unhelpful anxiety. In particular these results suggest that opportunities to develop physical familiarity with nature are most strongly related to low levels of general anxiety. In practice these results suggest that it is important to have experiences in nature that facilitate physical familiarity and feelings of being physically comfortable in nature. Get out and enjoy nature, in all its guises.

Participate in a research study looking into psychological and emotional experiences and emotional skills used in extreme, adventure and traditional sports

Subject Title: Participate in a research study looking into psychological and emotional experiences and emotional skills used in extreme, adventure and traditional sports

Dear athlete

My name is Eric Brymer and I am part of a team conducting cross-cultural research on well-being, emotions, and emotional skills in extreme, adventure, and traditional sports. If you’d like to help me in this study I’m looking for males and females over the age 18 to complete a 20 minute online questionnaire about your sporting experiences.

Further details on the study and how to participate can be found by clicking on the following link:

http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/177394/1402/

We are also interested in interviewing participants about their experiences if you would like to participate in an interview please either leave your contact details in the relevant section of the survey above or contact one of the researchers below.

Please note that this study has been approved by the Queensland University of Technology Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1300000176)

Many thanks for your consideration of this request.

Eric Brymer Susan Houge Mackenzie
Assistant Professor
Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
+805.756.1288
shougema@calpoly.edu

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Faculty of Health, QUT
+61 7 07 3138 3511
eric.brymer@qut.edu.au

Participate in a research study looking into psychological and emotional experiences and emotional skills used in extreme, adventure and traditional sports

Dear Adventurer

 

My name Eric Brymer and I am part of a team conducting cross-cultural research on well-being, emotions, and emotional skills in extreme, adventure, and traditional sports. If you’d like to help me in this study I’m looking for males and females over the age 18 to complete a 20 minute online questionnaire about your sporting experiences.

 

Further details on the study and how to participate can be found by clicking on the following link:

      

http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/177394/1402/

 

We are also interested in interviewing participants about their experiences if you would like to participate in an interview please either leave your contact details in the relevant section of the survey above or contact one of the researchers below.

 

Please note that this study has been approved by the Queensland University of Technology Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1300000176

 

Many thanks for your consideration of this request.

 

 

Eric Brymer

Susan Houge Mackenzie

Assistant Professor

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
+805.756.1288
shougema@calpoly.edu

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation

Faculty of Health, QUT

+61 7 07 3138 3511

eric.brymer@qut.edu.au