Brisk walking, gardening, or weight lifting helps you lose weight. But did you know that exercise can also make you a happy person?
According to a new study, the frequency and volume of physical activity undertaken may actually increase your level of happiness.
The research team noted that young people who engaged in physical activity once a week, compared to none, were 1.4 times more likely to be happy if they were at normal weight and 1.5 times more likely to be happy. chances if they were overweight.
Exercise also increased positive mental health in the same way it cured negative mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
“Our results suggest that the frequency and volume of physical activity are critical factors in the relationship between physical activity and happiness,” said Weiyun Chen, associate professor at the University of Michigan.
“More importantly, even a small change in physical activity makes a difference in happiness,” Chen added, in an article published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
The meta-analysis of 15 observational studies found that, compared to inactive people, the odds ratio of being happy was 20, 29 and 52% higher for people who were not active enough, sufficiently active or very active, respectively.
In children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, physical activity predicted the level of happiness, and in drug addicts, the number of weekly exercise sessions, regardless of their intensity, was slightly associated with happiness.
They also found an association between happiness and physical activity in older people.
Additionally, reaching the weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity was significantly associated with higher levels of happiness in ovarian cancer survivors, the researchers said.