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Mental health boosted by outdoor sport

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A new study has shown taking part in regular outdoor activity can reduce the risk of suffering mental health problems by half.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow found activities in natural environments such as forests and parks have an especially positive effect on stress, fatigue and mood.

The study, published in the journal Social Science And Medicine, showed exercising in ‘non-natural environments’ such as gyms has little impact on improving mental health.

The research team, lead by Professor Richard Mitchell, of the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health, studied the use of natural and non-natural environments for activity, such as running and cycling.

They found that 8% of people who exercised outdoors were likely to suffer mental health problems, while 16% of those who did not exercise outdoors would suffer.

Professor Richard Mitchell, of the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health at the university, said: “The results suggest that making the decision to exercise in a natural environment just once a week could be enough to gain a benefit. Any additional use may have a bigger effect.”

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