The purpose of this randomized control trial was to observe the effect of nature-based physical activity in achieving post traumatic growth (PTG) and to estimate the combined effect of nature and physical activity on the psychophysiological outcomes. A 3-month therapy was provided to participants meeting eligibility criteria to receive the walk-in nature (experimental group) or sit-in nature (control group) in the 1:1 ratio. At baseline and 3-month follow-up, participants were assessed with Trauma Symptom Checklist 40 (TSC-40), Traumatic Stress Scale (TSS), Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), Cortisol, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV). There was a significant effect of nature-based physical activity on traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth in comparison with the sit-in control. A significant post-interventional difference was observed in the mean PTGI score [F=5.412, p=0.022] between the experimental and control groups after 3 months of intervention. All the biochemical estimates, including CRP, BDNF, IL-6, and cortisol levels, were significantly altered in both post-intervention study groups (p<0.01). Taken together, these results show that nature-based physical activity significantly improves psychophysiological outcomes induced as a result of post-traumatic growth and also reduces traumatic stress.
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