Exercising outdoors relieves stress more than working out indoors, according to a study.
Mountain biking and running in landscapes without any buildings were found to have the biggest positive impact on mental health.
Psychologists believe it's the calming effect of nature that makes outdoor exercise so stress relieving.
The research adds to a swathe of studies that have found exposure to green space is beneficial for our mood.
Exercising outdoors relieves stress more than working out indoors, according to a study, with running coming out on top for all aspects of mood
Experts at the University of Roehampton along with a team in Germany, published their findings in the journal Mental Health and Prevention.
The team led by Dr Sandra Klaperski asked 140 participants to report on their mood, stress levels and feeling of anxiety before and after exercise.
The participants had to regularly take part in either an indoor sport - aerobics, aqua aerobics, basketball, fencing, swimming or volleyball – or an outdoor sport – running, football or mountain biking.
The football took place on a green lawn field with buildings on the one side and a view on a river and a forest on the other side.
The running and mountain bike groups had views of a hilly forest with hardly any urban views, the researchers said.
The questionnaires the participants answered consisted of a total of 54 items with a five-point scale.
For example, they rated how strongly they agreed with the statement, 'Right now I feel energetic'.
In addition to the mood, anxiety and stress scales, the post-questionnaire assessed the naturalness and calmness of the environment.
Little work has been conducted on the exact levels of exposure needed to have a significant impact on wellbeing.
However, researchers at the University of Michigan found a daily 20-minute stroll in the great outdoors can dramatically lower stress levels and boost wellbeing.
It appears to cut levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, by about 10 per cent.
Dr Mary Carol Hunter, who led the