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Exercise makes you happier than money, say researchers from Yale and Oxford Universities

Compared to the physically active, those who avoided exercise felt bad for an average of 18 days more annually.

Exercise makes you happier than money, say researchers from Yale and Oxford Universities

(Photo: Pixabay)

According to researchers at Yale and Oxford, physical activity could make you happier than being a millionaire.

In a study published in peer-reviewed general medical journal The Lancet, 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 same participants were also asked about their incomes and activities.

The scientists found that while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for an average of 35 days a year, non-active participants felt bad for an additional 18 days on average.

Physically active people feel just as good as those who don't do sports, but who earn around US$25,000 (S$33,818) more annually, or enough to stop you from hesitating over that pricey gym membership or Pilates class.

Too much exercise, however, could have the opposite effect. The study found that physical activity only contributes to better mental well-being when it falls within a certain time frame.

According to the study, three to five training sessions each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes per week is ideal for optimum happiness. Also, per the study, if the exercise involved socializing, like in team sports, there was more of a positive effect on mental health.

The mental health of those participants who exercised for longer than three hours a day suffered more than that of those who weren't particularly physically active.

Source: CNA/jv