Objective: The aim of this project was to conduct a randomised control study to examine whether outdoor mindful walking in nature can effectively improve university students’ sleep quality, mood, and mindfulness during the lockdown of Covid-19 pandemic in the U.K.

Methods: Participants were measured at T0 (pre-study baseline), T1 (pre-intervention), T2 (post-intervention), and T3 (follow-up). A total of 104 participants (female = 94) who were experiencing sleep difficulties were randomly allocated to either an experimental (i.e., nature) or control (i.e., urban) walking environments. Participants in each walking condition independently undertook a daily 35-minute walk for a week (7 days). Subjective sleep quality, total mood disturbance, mindfulness, and degree of nature, and participants’ perspectives and suggestions about the intervention, were collected.

Results: Findings suggest that both groups exhibited significant improvements on participant's trait mindfulness, sleep quality and mood after the intervention. However, mindful walking in nature did not bring additional mental health benefits to participants than those who walked in urban environment. Participants reflected their perspectives about the intervention, which will assist with further intervention development.

Conclusions: Findings contribute to the evidence base for the effectiveness of outdoor mindful walking interventions on mental health. Especially these findings add new knowledge of how mindful walking outdoors reduces university students’ mood disturbances and improves their sleep quality and mindfulness level during the pandemic.

Cite as

Ma, J., Williams, J., Morris, P. & Chan, S. 2022, 'Effectiveness of mindful walking intervention on nature on sleep quality and mood among university student during Covid-19: A randomised control study', Explore. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2022.08.004

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Last updated: 13 September 2022
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