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With a participant group of 19,842 males and females, it uses self-reports to establish physical activity levels and the General Health Questionnaire to examine the mental health state.
While various forms of physical activity such as gardening and walking were found to positively affect mental wellbeing, sporting activities appeared to have the strongest influence.
The authors of the paper recognised that they could not exclude the possibility that the apparent effects (improved mental health) could actually be the cause of increased activity or that a third independant factor (e.g.
genetics) could be causing both increased exercise and wellbeing.
The authors suggest that future research should look at the areas highlighted by this study in a more objective, controlled fashion.
On the other hand, the very large sample size does greatly improve the validity of this study and the wide range of physical activities acknowledged by Hamer et al.
(2008) allows for a more detailed examination of activity as a whole being benefical to metal wellbeing.