Does Exercising Make You Happier than Money?19/01/2020, Samahita
When it comes to what really motivates us to exercise on a a regular basis there are a few common themes which come up. It may be the desire to be strong or to lose weight, or just to be fitter and happier, to have a more fulfilling life perhaps? It is also true that there are simple things in life that make us feel fulfilled, for some it is from their job, others good food and the other major factor many would bring up is money. However have you ever thought about if money truly makes you happy? We have put together some of the top reasons why exercise can make you happier than money.
You may have heard of the runners high or even experienced that euphoric moment after a really challenging workout or yoga practice. Research has now shown that pushing our bodies to their limit during exercise is one of the biggest determining factors in our happiness, more so than income.
This buzzing experience during and after exercise are attributed to a release of endorphins. It has been shown that this release increases during intense physical activity and most significantly when reaching your maximum aerobic capacity. Although this is a temporary state and not necessarily attributable to your long term happiness or improved mental health as over execising can also make you less happy than those who do not exercise at all.
During a cross sectional study performed in the USA using data from 1.2 million people, a full range of physical activities were cited, including housekeeping and gardening, and all were shown to improve happiness. It also showed that those participating in team sports and group exercise reported the highest number of happy days per year compared to a range of other physical activities.
All Things Must be Done in Moderation
The duration and the frequency that you exercise can also make a significant difference as moderation is always key. As an example, it has been seen that the overall happiness and mental health of people who exercise for more than 3 hours a day was lower than those who were physically inactive. Research also found that the ideal ratio is to complete 3 30 to 60 minuet sessions per week.
Will Money Make You Happy?
The most interesting fact of all being that although earning more money does improve happiness for some, the extra happiness generated through regular exercise was equivalent to earning an extra $25,000 per year. Other unrelated studies reveal similar results. One study conducted in Iran compared the happiness of male students who played team sports with a control group who did not exercise. After the 8 week period, the sports group reported positive improvements in their happiness and overall mental health compared to the control group which did not report any improvements. The report suggests that team working and friendship cultivated through team sports increases self confidence and overall happiness. More studies will need to be carried out to help fully understand how different chemical / psychological factors contribute. Whichever way you see it just get out there and take part and do what you enjoy.
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