Green Exercise Research Group (UoE)

The home of Green Exercise research at the University of Essex

Who we are

At the University of Essex we have been researching the concept of Green Exercise for 14 years, coining the term itself in 2003.  The Green Exercise Research Team comprises experts in the areas of exercise physiology, health and well-being, environmental sustainability, community engagement, behaviour change.

What we do

We examine where, when, how and why Green Exercise brings health and well-being benefits.  We aim to understand who can benefit most from Green Exercise, and how it can be used as a means to drive behaviour change.

We also research Green Care - nature-based interventions that promote health and well-being outcomes, often for specific vulnerable groups.

Our research has far-reaching implications for both public health and environmental agenda at a local, national and international level.

The team

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Dr Mike Rogerson

Mike is the Green Exercise Research Team's Research Officer. His research has merged existing research methods to compare different environmental exercise settings, focusing on understanding how characteristics of the individual, exercise and environment can influence cognitive and psychological wellbeing outcomes of green exercise participation. Mike is project lead on current evaluation work.

For staff profile click here

And can be found at twitter @Mike_Rogerson_ 

Dr Jo Barton

Jo is a Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science and leads the Green  Exercise research programme at the University of Essex. Her research primarily focuses on the acute health outcomes of exercising in different environments. She is interested in the physiological and psychological effects of green exercise during exercise and post-recovery. Jo works with a range of vulnerable groups including youth at risk, adults experiencing mental ill-health, children and older adults to explore how green exercise can be used as a vehicle to drive behavior change. 

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Dr Valerie Gladwell

Valerie was awarded a 3 year Economic and Social Research Council early career fellowship in 2009, to investigate the benefits of green exercise for mainly physiological but also psychological health. Alongside her former British Heart Foundation PhD student, she has also explored the impact of green exercise in reducing stress within the workplace. 

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Professor Jules Pretty OBE

Jules is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and Professor of Environment and Society. Author of 18 books, he is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the government's Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and have served on advisory committees for a number of government department and research councils. Jules received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, and an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009.

For staff profile click here

For personal website cllck here

And can be found at twitter @JulesPretty1 


John-James Wooller

John's research primarily focuses on the cognitive mechanisms responsible for green exercise. Existent research shows that Green Exercise is beneficial to psychological well-being, but to date very little research has focused on the underlying cognitive mechanisms responsible for this effect. By better understanding the reasons behind these positive psychological effects, it will be possible to maximise the benefits of green exercise programmes.

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Matthew Slavin

Matthew is a psychologist currently completing his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Essex. Matthew started his career in outdoor sports, working with children and young people with learning disabilities as well as marginalised youth and young offenders. He continues to combine his interests in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, trauma and outdoor pursuits, both in his clinical practice and research, and is exploring the use of ‘Adventure Therapy’ for young adults affected by chronic health conditions.

For staff profile click here

And can be found at twitter @SlavinMatthew 


Dr Rachel Bragg 

Rachel is a visiting Fellow at the University of Essex, and Development Coordinator of Social Farms & Gardens.  Her research, training skills and expertise are in the area of green exercise and green care, care farming,  community development, farming and food systems, sustainable agriculture, deliberative and participatory methods for assessments in many contexts.

For Rachel's research profile click here

Dr Paul Freeman

Paul is a lecturer in sports and exercise sciences. In addition to other topics in sports and exercise psychology, his research interests include beliefs about green exercise behaviour - an area he is examining with Dr Valerie Gladwell and Elliott Flowers

For staff profile click here