Psycho-physiological responses to indoor cycling in different environments

Physical activity can have a host of benefits for both mental and physical health. In this study we are trying to understand more about the particular benefits of exercising in different environments.

Listen to Dr White explaining the study to BBC Cornwall

We are doing this in a controlled setting by asking participants to cycle indoors for 15 minutes whilst viewing images and sounds of one out of four environments:

  1. Coast
  2. Countryside
  3. Town
  4. Blank wall (this acts as our control condition)

Over a period of 4 weeks participants will cycle in each of these four environments. We are monitoring participant’s mood, arousal levels, heart rate and blood pressure before, during and after cycling.

This study is particularly focused on postmenopausal women. This is for two key reasons: a) there is evidence that as a group postmenopausal women may be more inactive and b) hormones around menstruation can affect responses to exercise.

The findings will develop understanding of the psychological and physiological benefits of exercising in natural environments.

To our knowledge this is the first study to explore both the psychological and physiological effects of indoor cycling in green compared to coastal and urban environments.