How To Become Happier
If you want to be happy, move more. That’s the gist of findings from a University of Michigan investigation that delved into the question of whether physical activity increases positive mental health as effectively as it reduces depression and anxiety. Researchers reviewed 23 studies on happiness and physical activity and found that 15 of them showed a positive link between happiness and exercise (the others chosen for the analysis showed inconsistent results). Lead researcher Weiyun Chen, an associate professor of kinesiology, noted the combined data of the studies demonstrated that even a small change in physical activity – as little as 10 minutes per week – can help boost happiness. However, analysis of the study results suggests that 2.5 to five hours of physical activity per week is more optimal. Three studies included in the data pool found a link between happiness and exercise among older adults. Other studies showed that normal weight young people who exercised once a week had 1.4 times the odds of being happy compared to those of the same age who didn’t exercise and that overweight young people who exercised had 1.5 times the odds of being happy as those who weren’t physically active.
Zhanjia Zhang and Weiyun Chen, “A Systematic Review of the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Happiness.” Journal of Happiness Studies, March 24, 2018; DOI: 10.1007/s10902-018-9976-0
Also in this week’s bulletin: