Study: This makes Americans just as happy as higher economic status

According to the researchers at Yale and Oxford, exercise contributes just as much to mental and emotional wellness as economic status.

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The important role exercise plays in overall wellness cannot be overstated.

Recent reports have established a link between physical activity and a sharp boost to cognition and memory. In another independent study, data showed that individuals that exercised as little as 150 minutes a week (ten minutes a day), were less likely to become disabled later in life. The long-established principle that maintaining weight was for the most part about dietary intake was recently repudiated. According to the journal Obesity, individuals that are regularly active have a much better chance of keeping excess weight off, irrespective of their diets-within reason.


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A lot of this information is known by many on some level, but most of us make the mistake of associating working out with inconvenience.  Making time to go to the gym is a chore; a physical exchange for emotional happiness. Or is it?

Exercising makes us look and feel better,

According to the researchers at Yale and Oxford, exercise contributes just as much to mental and emotional wellness as economic status. The study, which was published in the journal Lancet, observed 1.2 million participants and began with a simple question: “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?”

As it turns out those that were not physically active were depressed 18 more days a year than those that maintained some degree of physical activity.  The study defined physical activity in a myriad of different ways, from mowing the lawn, to playing sports, to bicycling.  Additionally, physically active respondents reported being just as happy as non-active respondents that made $25,000 or more a year.

The ideal amount of exercise varies based on a number of factors, primarily age and preexisting health conditions. The lead authors of this study, in particular, recommends three to five training sessions, all lasting between  30 to 60 minutes a week.

This is important because the participants that reported exercising more than three hours a day were actually less happy than individuals that didn’t exercise very much at all. Moreover,  achieving the weekly recommended amount of exercise through activities that emphasize sociality was shown to boosts wellness considerably.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.