The Secret To Becoming Happier
One of the largest studies of its kind, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Essex, has shown that any level of physical activity can have a positive effect on emotional well being.”There have been many studies about the positive psychological effects of exercise,” said the paper’s senior author Dr Jason Rentfrow, from Cambridge’s Department of Psychology, in a statement.
“But what we’ve found is that in order to be happier, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon – all you’ve really got to do is periodically engage in slight physical activity throughout the day.”They’re not kidding when they say “slight”: study co-author Dr Gillian Sandstrom, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, said even totally basic activity like “walking from the desk to the photocopier, or from the car to the office door” counts towards your mood.
The study tracked 10,000 everyday people who had downloaded a free mood-tracking app for Android phones.Twice a day the app surveyed users about their mood, asking them to rate themselves on a graph of positive-to-negative and alert-to-sleep, as well as quizzing them on their emotional states and general life satisfaction.
The app also collected self-reported data about each user’s physical activity, and measured the user’s movement patterns using the phone’s in-built accelerometer (which is harder to cheat).When all this data was used to calculate happiness scores for each user, it was found that participants with higher levels of activity throughout their day reported a more positive emotional state.“Our data show that happy people are more active in general,” said Dr Rentfrow.