Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Rehabilitation and Movement Science

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Sibold

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Vatovec


exercise, physical activity, environment, mood, affect, mental health


The national need for increased physical activity, especially among sedentary populations, has been well documented. The need now is for fitness programs to be more effective at encouraging individuals to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. This study investigated the relationship between exercise environment, stress, affect, and Nature Relatedness. Because stress reduction has been seen as a benefit of being exposed to nature, stress and affect were assessed in sedentary adults at the beginning and end of short walks in an outdoor and indoor environment in an effort to determine which environment had the greater ability to reduce stress. Stress and affect were measured using salivary cortisol concentration and alpha-amylase activity, as well as surveys and questionnaires. Additionally, the link between Nature Relatedness and environmental preference was assessed. Ultimately, our results indicated that this population expressed a preference for exercising in the outdoor environment over the indoor environment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.