The research found that physically active people’s mental outlook is just as good – if not better – than less active people who earn a lot more money.
It’s no secret that exercising is beneficial for both our physical and mental health.
But now a new study is suggesting that keeping your body healthy has an even greater effect in your mental well being than a healthy bank balance.
Researchers at Yale and Oxford have published their findings in The Lancet, after scientists collected data about the physical behavior and mental mood of over 1.2 million Americans.
Participants were asked to answer the following question: “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?”
The participants were also asked about their income and physical activities. They were able to choose from 75 types of physical activity — from mowing the lawn, taking care of children, and doing housework to weight lifting, cycling, and running.
They found that while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for 35 days a year, nonactive participants felt bad for 18 days more, on average.
In addition, the researchers found that physically active people feel just as good as those who don’t do sports but who earn about $25,000 (€22,911) more per year.
Essentially, you’d have to earn a lot more to get you the same happiness-boosting effect that sport has.
However too much exercise could have the opposite effect.
“The relationship between sport duration and mental load is U-shaped,” said study author Adam Chekroud of Yale University in an interview.
The study found that physical activity contributes to better mental well-being only when it falls within a certain time frame.
According to the study, three to five training sessions, each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes, are ideal per week.