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Study Finds Playing Recreational Sports May Reduce Risk of Depression and Anxiety

Previous research has found that physical activity may help improve mental health, cognitive function, and self-esteem. Now a new study suggests that playing a recreational sport on a regular basis may help reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

Participants in the study included 682 recreational athletes. The researchers collected information regarding how often participants took part in their recreational sport and the physical intensity of the sport they played. They also used the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale to evaluate depressive symptoms and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item questionnaire to evaluate anxiety levels.

The researchers found that participants who met the physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week had lower depression scores compared to those who did not meet the recommendations. They also found that participants who played team sports in an indoor setting had lower depression and anxiety scores than those who played in an outdoor setting. No differences in depression or anxiety scores were found for participants who played individual sports either indoors or outdoors.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of South Australia. It was published in the March 2019 edition of the journal Human Movement.

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