Happiness & Exercise

Happiness & Exercise


Exercise has long been demonstrated as a helpful, evidence-based intervention for difficulties such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Research has also indicated that physical activity is linked to happiness in general (Zhang & Chen, 2019). The literature indicated that even exercising on just one day per week was linked to higher happiness, compared to people who did not exercise at all. Zhang and Chen’s findings suggested that even 10 minutes of activity a week could be linked to increased happiness. The types of activity with demonstrated benefit were aerobic exercise (cardio; think walking, running, swimming, or cycling) and stretching or balancing exercises (think yoga or tai chi); Zhang and Chen found that both types were equally linked to happiness levels. These results were found cross-culturally, although there was some variation in the outcomes found according to different factors.

It can be hard to get motivated to exercise; it’s helpful to know that even a small amount might make you feel happier. Making a small change (such as a regular 10-minute walk or stretch) is often achievable and likely to be well worth the benefits you could reap in return.


Source: Zhang, Z., & Chen, W. (2019). A systematic review of the relationship between physical activity and happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20, 1305-1322. DOI: 10.1007/s10902-018-9976-0

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