Differences of psychological effects between meditative and athletic walking in a forest and gymnasium

Yoon Kyung Shin, Dai Jin Kim, Kyunghee Jung-Choi, Young Ju Son, Jung Wan Koo, Jung Ah Min, Jeong Ho Chae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Several studies have reported that exercise and meditative activities in a forest are more effective than the same activities performed in an urban area. However, few studies have compared the direct effects of exercise to those of meditative activity in a forest and indoors. This study aimed to identify how the effects of the same activity might differ when performed in a forest as opposed to indoors, as well as how the effects of meditative and athletic activities in the same environment might differ. We recruited 139 females between 18 and 25 years of age and distributed the subjects into four groups by random allocation: athletic walking in the gymnasium (AG), athletic walking in the forest (AF), meditative walking in the gymnasium (MG), and meditative walking in the forest (MF). We evaluated the subjects before and after walking, using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-X, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Happiness Index for Koreans. Meditative walking had greater effectiveness on the psychological aspects than athletic walking did in the same environment. Also, walking in the forest increased happiness to a greater degree than walking in the gymnasium at the same pace. Especially meditative walking in the forest was the most effective at increasing happiness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Research Foundation Basic Research Project (2009· 0073189).


  • Athletic walking
  • environment
  • forest
  • gymnasium
  • meditative walking


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