If you were asked to choose between money or exercise, what would you choose? Well, without really putting too much thought to it, most of us will choose money, simply because ‘money can buy us anything’, right? Well, wrong! According to a study conducted at Yale and Oxford, exercising makes people happier than money. The study was published in The Lancet wherein researchers collated data about the physical and mental behavior of more than 1.2 million in America.
The participants of the study were asked, ‘How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression or emotional problems?’ Along with it, they were also asked questions about their income and physical activities. The participants had to choose from 75 types of physical activities, which included running after children, doing housework to proper workouts.
The study goes on to establish that people who lead a more active lifestyle are happier. The researchers found that those who exercised on a regular basis felt bad for 35 days every year, 18 days less than participants who led a non active life.
Additionally, the scientists said that people who were physically active felt as good as those who earned more than $25,000 more a year without involving in sports. To get the same level of happiness, they said people would have to earn much more than that.
While exercise is great for you, it can have a negative impact on your mental health. It is important for you to know how much is too much. According to the lead author Adam Chekroud of Yale University, “The relationship between sport duration and mental load is U-shaped.”
As per the findings of the study, engaging in three to five training sessions lasting from anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes every week is considered ideal. It was interesting to know that people who exercised for more than 3 hours every day actually compromised on their mental health and happiness. Their happiness level was compared to participants who were not as physically active.
It was also found that activities that involved groups like sports made people happier than weight lifting and more that were done in isolation. So for better mental health, it is best to find a group activity that makes you happy – don’t just follow a sport that doesn’t excite you.