There’s a reason why when life is getting overwhelming a walk outside suddenly makes things seem clearer. Studies from around the world looking at how exercise can lower our risk of developing depression and anxiety show that working up a sweat can relax us in plenty of other ways.
Research which was carefully put together by Michigan researchers discovered just how strongly exercise was linked to happiness. “Every one of the observational studies showed a beneficial relationship between being physically active and being happy,” says Weiyun Chen, who wrote the review.
The type and intensity exercise did not seem to matter either – from jogging to yoga, it all had a positive effect and any amount of time and frequency was better than doing nothing at all.
People who worked out only once or twice a week said they felt much happier than those who never exercised. Ten minutes was enough to encourage a happier frame of mind. But more movement generally contributed to greater happiness and anyone exercising for at least thirty minutes on most days were about 30 percent more likely to consider themselves happy than people who did less.
“I think the indications are strong that exercise can contribute to happiness and, while anything helps, a bit more is probably better,” says Weiyun.
For adults across Britain who exercise regularly, that natural high moment from exercise is less than 10 minutes away according to a new survey. The poll of 2,000 people found the average time for those who exercise three times a week or more is just nine minutes and 44 seconds. And women feel the natural high from exercise faster than men, with women on average achieving that natural high over 1 minute quicker – nine minutes and seven seconds compared to 10 minutes and 20 seconds for men.
When we are fit and healthy, we are less likely to catch coughs and colds as our body is better able to fight off infections and we are also less likely to get injured – thanks to our muscles being stronger and able to function better. And, feeling happy is likely to make you healthier too – so you end up on a very positive loop!
Researchers believe happier people may be more inclined to live a healthy lifestyle which doubles the positive affect that being content may have directly on the heart and immune system. Again, the benefits to our body and mind from exercise come after just ten minutes – and no one is too busy not to be able to exercise for just ten minutes a day. Especially when there is so much to gain.
If you found this interesting, A-list trainer Gunnar Peterson told us how to get a decent workout, without paying for an expensive gym membership. And, here’s why exercise is about so much more than looking good.