Visual color perception in green exercise: positive effects on mood and perceived exertion

Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Aug 21;46(16):8661-6. doi: 10.1021/es301685g. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


Positive effects of green exercise on physical and psychological wellbeing have been found, yet little is known about the underlying cognitive mechanisms responsible for such effects. The purpose of this visual sensation study was to establish the extent to which the color green, as a primitive visual feature of many natural environments, contributes to the green exercise effect. Fourteen participants performed three moderate-intensity 5-min cycling tasks (50% peak power output) while watching video footage of a rural cycling course that simulated cycling through a real natural environment. The three randomly counter-balanced video conditions were unedited (V(GREEN)), achromatic (V(GRAY)) or red filter (V(RED)). Lower total mood disturbance and ratings of perceived exertion were found during the V(GREEN) compared to V(GRAY) and V(RED). Feelings of anger were higher after V(RED) compared to the other conditions. Feelings of tension, depression, fatigue, vigor, and confusion did not differ among conditions. This is the first study to show that the color green, as a primitive feature of visual sensation, has a contributory effect toward positive green exercise outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Bicycling*
  • Color Perception*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Respiration