A new study has discovered that taking up regular exercise could help people to achieve greater wellbeing and feel more confident in their everyday lives.
The research involved 8,157 runners who were registered with parkrun and the fitness app Strava. A team at Glasgow Caledonian University interviewed them and also measured their score on the Oxford Happiness Scale, a tool commonly used for checking psychological wellbeing.
It was found that 89 per cent of the runners reported feeling happier as a result of their sport or hobby, as well as achieving an improved body image.
They scored an average of 4.4 on the Oxford Happiness Scale, which is significantly above the average score of four.
Reader in Sociology at the university Dr Emmanuelle Tulle said: "Running gives you a feeling you have achieved something and a sense of tremendous satisfaction. It adds to a general sense of wellbeing, you feel good and it helps boosts your self-confidence."
Of course, not everyone might want or be able to participate in running, but there has long been a known link between being physically active and positive mental wellbeing that is down to chemical changes in the brain.
Professionals in physiotherapy jobs are already likely to be capitalising on this phenomenon, but they could also make use of this new study to underline the benefits to the mind that regular exercise can offer.
This follows on from a separate study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry carried out by a team of experts from institutions including King's College London.
This analysed data from 266,939 people and discovered that those with higher levels of activity were less likely to develop depression and anxiety than their counterparts who did not regularly engage in exercise.
NHS guidelines state that adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking per week, but this could be as important for the mind as it is for the body.
Written by Mathew Horton
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