Taking part in regular exercise not only has the benefits of helping people to slim down and get fitter, but it can also do their mental health wonders as well, a new study indicates.
Research published in the journal Social Science and Medicine shows that exercising outdoors can help to release stress and protect against poor mental health, thanks to the combination of fresh air getting the blood pumping.
It appears that doing an activity outdoors has far greater benefits than doing the same thing in a gym, explained lead author Professor Richard Mitchell, from the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health at the university.
"I wasn't surprised by the findings that exercise in natural environments is good for your mental health, but I was surprised by just how much better it is for your mental health to exercise in a green place like a forest, than in other places like the gym," he explained.
Although exercise anywhere is a good thing, doing so in natural environments such as woodlands and parks seemed to have the greatest effect, he noted.
"So the message to doctors, planners and policymakers is that these places need protecting and promoting," Professor Mitchell added.
Do you often exercise outdoors?