Exercising outdoors provides more stress relief than working out indoors, according to researchers at the University of Roehampton in the U.K.
The studies found the indoor groups’ stress levels were reported, on a 1-to-5 scale at 2.42 prior to exercise, falling 8% to 2.23 afterward. By contrast, the outdoor groups’ stress fell from 2.35 out of five to 2.05, a 13% decrease.
The findings were published in the journal Mental Health and Prevention, where researchers concluded the simple fact that the outdoor activities took place in green spaces and ‘calm environment’ could have delivered the calming effect.
“This could nonetheless suggest that green exercise, and running outdoors in particular, has stronger positive effects on acute mood and perceived stress levels than non-green types of exercise,” the Roehampton researchers wrote. Running was found to be the most effective, with participants stating their bad mood and restlessness lowered by 27%, anxiety by 16% and stress by 14%.
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