A new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science tries to explain how physical exercise also provides a boost to mental health.
The study was conducted by researchers at Trimbos Institute and VU University Medical Center who surveyed more than 7,000 Dutch adolescents between 11 and 16 years of age. The participants were asked about their mental health problems, physical activity, participation in organized sports and body weight perceptions.
The researchers found that those who were not active physically had a greater risk of both internalizing problems, such as depression and anxiety, and externalizing problems, such as aggression, while those who took part in organized sports or were physically active had less mental problems.
"We think that these findings are important for policymakers and anyone who works in healthcare or prevention. Our findings indicate that physical activity may be one effective tool for the prevention of mental health problems in adolescence", lead researcher Karin Monshouwer said.