We know that exercising is key to becoming physically stronger, but a new analysis finds it can make us mentally stronger as well, by boosting our mood.
New research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies finds that doing any kind of physical activity for as little as 10 minutes out of your week can significantly improve your odds of feeling happy.
If you're feeling a little more ambitious, exercising for at least one day out of the week can have similar results. As reported by The New York Times, University of Michigan researchers behind the study looked at 23 previously-published works — 15 observational studies and eight intervention studies — all of which found a clear beneficial relationship between physical activity and happiness.
Together, those previously published studies provided the authors a pool of more than 500,000 psychologically healthy people of diverse ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups.
All of the studies included in this review found that happiness was positively associated with physical activity. Generally, the type of exercise did not equal to more or less happiness, so long as the person was physically active.
People who exercised for at least 30 minutes several days out of the week were roughly 30 percent more likely to consider themselves happy compared to those who put in less time, researchers found.
Prior research has also found that engaging in more physical activity can significantly decrease your odds of developing depression.
The authors of the study warn that there is still much research to be done on whether there is an optimal dose of physical activity for the improvement of happiness. But the implications of future research could help support the use of physical activity as a preventative or curative approach for mental disorders. Still, the researchers are certain that there's a consistent positive relationship between the two.
Many of today's most influential people, including Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Cuban credit part of their success and happiness to being physically active.
Worried you don't have time to reap the mood-lifting benefits of exercise? You might want to take a cue from entrepreneur Tony Robbins, who squeezes an intense 15-minute workout into his daily schedule, or author Tim Ferriss, who does his workouts in as little as 20 minutes.
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