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Journal Article

Citation

Lee J, Park BJ, Ohira T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015; 12(2): 1874-1893.

Affiliation

Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, 6-2-1 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan. ymiyazaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2015, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph120201874

PMID

25664697

Abstract

Despite an increasing attention and public preference for rural amenities, little evidence is available on the health benefits of a rural environment. In this study, we identified physiological and psychological benefits of exposure to a rural environment using multiparametric methods. Twelve young male adults participated in a 3-day field experiment (mean ± standard deviation age, 22.3 ± 1.3 years). Sleeping environment, diet program, physical activities, and other factors possibly affecting physiological responses were controlled during experiment period. For all participants, salivary cortisol concentration, heart rate variability, and blood pressure were measured at rural and urban field sites. Self-evaluation questionnaires were administered to analyze the psychological states in two different environments. Volatile compounds in the air were also analyzed to investigate air quality. The data were compared between rural and urban environments. The data showed that exposure to a rural environment reduced stress hormone secretion and sympathetic nervous activity and increased parasympathetic nervous activity. Short-term exposure to a rural environment also improved mood states. Our findings indicate that exposure to a rural environment effectively reduced physiological stress and enhanced psychological well-being.


Language: en

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