- Whether you’re enjoying an endorphin high after a few laps in the pool or getting a runner high after a quick jog, it’s no secret that exercise can be a great mood lift. In fact, a 2018 report published in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows that just 10 minutes of exercise per week was associated with an improvement in mood.
Better still, a new study suggests that exercising in a certain place can make you feel better – and it might even improve your feelings of anxiety and depression.
Before you lace up those sneakers, read on to find out which workout location could make you feel like a million dollars. And if you’re looking to lose weight, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
A meta-analysis published in SSM – Population Health in 2021 reviewed 14,231 data sets and 50 studies on the effects of outdoor activities. Reviewing the data, the researchers found that participating in nature-based interventions (NBIs), such as gardening and outdoor exercise, significantly reduced anxiety symptoms for between 20 and 90 minutes over 8 to 12 weeks.
“We have known for some time that being in nature is good for health and wellbeing, but our study confirms the growing evidence that doing things in nature is associated with great mental health benefits,” said the Lead author of the study Peter Coventry, PhD, a senior lecturer in health research with the Mental Health and Addiction Research Group in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, in a statement.
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However, it’s not just the fear that exercise has been shown to be beneficial.
The study researchers also found that NBIs were also linked to significant reductions in depressive symptoms. However, this is not the first time research has linked outdoor exercise with benefits for people with depression. A 2011 study published in Science and Technology found that exercising outdoors was associated with reductions in depression, anger, tension, and confusion.
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Even if you’re not specifically struggling with depression or anxiety, exercising outdoors can help you improve your mood.
The same SSM – Population Health study found that nature-based interventions were also associated with significant improvements in positive affect while significantly reducing negative affect.
While the results of the meta-analysis certainly suggest that outdoor exercise can bring a plethora of mental health and mood benefits, researchers found that there is a way to get even better mood-boosting results: bring a friend.
“While doing these activities alone is effective, among the studies we have reviewed it appears that they have resulted in larger gains in mental health in groups,” Coventry added.
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