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Rural Routes Maximize Psychological Benefits of Jogging

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All you joggers out there may want to plan a new route, for the sake of your emotional health

All you joggers out there may want to plan a new route, for the sake of your emotional health. In a recent study, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden tested the psychological effects of the physical environment on joggers. Researchers were particularly interested in how rural and urban settings affected joggers' attention, anxiety, depression and anger levels. Participants were 12 adults-six men and six women-with a mean age of 39.7 years. Each participant ran two hour-long routes. One route featured green surroundings, including trees and water, and the other featured buildings and traffic. The results, published in the April 2003 issue of Psychology of Sport and Exercise, found that jogging in both settings significantly relieved anxiety, depression and anger. However, runners found rural, green scenery more emotionally restorative than urban routes. Effects on attention levels were inconsistent.

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