We have all heard that exercise can benefit you both physically and mentally, but how important is it when it comes to making you happy? A new study has shown that it’s even more important than we think.
In the study, scientists collected data about physical activity and mental health of 1.2 million people. They were asked how many times they have felt mentally unwell such as stress, depression and emotional problems. They also compared this with questions about physical ability and income. The physical activity covered everything from exercising like running and lifting weights, to look after things around the house or gardening.
Exercise Makes You Happier
The results found that those who exercised regularly felt bad on less says that those who weren’t active. In total, it was around 53 days a year that those who were inactive felt they were struggling. In comparison to 35 days for active participants.
They also found that those people who were active felt as good as those who weren’t active but earned £25,000 more a year. So it takes a lot of extra money to achieve the same happiness boosting effect as exercise.
Social and team sports have more of a positive effect on mental health, but cycling, aerobics and fitness also help even though they aren’t technically ‘team’ sports.
Finding A Balance
The ideal amount of exercise was between 30-60 minutes, about 3 – 5 days per week. According to the study, physical activity only improves mental well-being within this time-frame. Overdoing it can have the reverse effect.
Anyone who exercises regularly will know the endorphins and positive effect it can have on our day-to-day lives. It lifts us, gives us more energy, makes us feel in control and gets out all the stress and worry we experience. Even so, it’s surprising that it has the most positive effect on our lives over earning more money. It just proves that health not wealth is the most important thing when it comes to happiness! As long as we look after ourselves and treat our bodies well, we have a better chance of staying happy and improving mental health.