The Secret to Happiness? A Few Extra Minutes of Exercise Each Day
Would you invest a few more sweaty minutes of exercise each day for a pay-off of substantially improved life satisfaction?
Scientists say that you have more control over your well-being than you probably realize, and that one of the best ways to enhance your sense of life satisfaction is by exercising for a few extra minutes each day.
Penn State University researchers recruited 190, 18-25 year old study subjects to participate in a life satisfaction experiment.
For 8 to 14 days, study subjects answered questions on a daily basis about life satisfaction at the moment, recent physical activity, self esteem and other variables.
After controlling for variables that could influence life satisfaction, such as depression, anxiety, stress, a high body mass index and fatigue, the research team found that exercise was significantly correlated to improved life satisfaction.
Subjects reported feeling greater life satisfaction on days with more physical activity and feeling less satisfied on more sedentary days.
Subjects reported the largest bump in life satisfaction on days when they exercised harder or for a few minutes longer than normal.
The study authors say governments looking to boost macro-level mental health need to consider public health polices which encourage physical activity - and at the individual level, anyone wanting to feel a bit better about life ought to try sweating it out for a few extra minutes each day.
Read the full research findings in Health Psychology.
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