Exercise Makes You Happier Than Having More Money, Say Researchers From Yale and Oxford

April 15, 2019 Updated: April 20, 2019

We already know that exercise has plenty of benefits to your health, both physically and mentally. Keeping fit increases your chances of longevity and decreases the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other debilitating diseases. In addition, if you exercise, you are less likely to suffer from depression. But is exercise more important to your mental health than having more money? Researchers from Yale and Oxford found that is indeed the case in a study.

Illustration – Unsplash | Luis Quintero

A large sample of the population in the United States was analyzed using a cross-sectional design for the research. In the study published in The Lancet, scientists used the survey data of more than 1.2 million Americans, between 2011–2015, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risks Surveillance System, to determine the link between exercise and mental health and the effects on the brain of different types of activity.

Age, race, gender, income, marital status, education level, Body Mass Index (BMI) category, physical health, and prior depression diagnosis were all taken into consideration.

Illustration – Shutterstock | YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV

According to Business Insider, participants were asked, “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?”

They were also required to answer questions relating to their income and amount and type of physical activities. There were 75 different activities to select from, such as cycling, running, weight lifting, housework, and gardening. The study inferred that those who played in team sports or did cycling or aerobic activities fared better.

Exercising for 45 minutes, 3–5 times per week made the biggest difference. It was determined also that exercising more didn’t necessarily mean better results, i.e., those who exercised more than 3 hours a day suffered more than those who were physically inactive.

Illustration – Pixabay | joshdick75

“From the academic perspective, we know that exercise has a whole host of physical benefits, in terms of reduced all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes,” Adam M Chekroud, Ph.D., from the department of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, told Healio Psychiatry. “I had read smaller-scale studies in the past showing that exercise was an effective antidepressant, and I wanted to explore this further and really try to understand what kinds of exercise might be most beneficial, and how long or how often I’d need to be doing it. That kind of information just wasn’t really made compelling in the literature.”

“However, other randomized controlled trials do not support this hypothesis, and evidence from longitudinal observational studies is inconsistent,” Chekroud further added.

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Scientists concluded that those who exercised regularly felt down or depressed for 35 days in a year. Meanwhile, those who didn’t do exercise had 53 bad days on average.

Interestingly, it was also found that if you are physically active, you feel just as good mentally, to those who earn US$25,000 or more per year but don’t exercise. So it seems that focusing on making more money will not make you happy; instead, becoming more mobile can. Money can help you get out of tight situations, but mobility can keep your life in order. Put your iPhone on the desk for a while and get on your bike! Perhaps cycle to the park and join in a meditation class. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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Interested in exercising? Check out the following video—this practice is free and has worked wonders for many worldwide:

An Introduction to Falun Gong

Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) is an ancient cultivation way that was passed down through the ages from a master to a single disciple in each generation. It was introduced to the public in May 1992. With the book Zhuan Falun and five sets of exercises, Falun Dafa teaches people to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance (真善忍) to elevate their moral standards and improve their physical health. The practice has had tremendous impact on individuals and society.New students and longtime practitioners, based on their individual inborn quality, enlightenment quality and personal effort, etc., can obtain benefits of different realms, ranging from stress relief, freedom from illness and keeping fit, to opening up one's wisdom and ultimately achieving enlightenment.Falun Dafa is the only complete advanced-level cultivation practice in the world that has not had its exercises and books altered by the interpretations of students and practitioners of later generations.In addition to Zhuan Falun, all other Falun Dafa books were also written by Master Li Hongzhi, with the aim of helping students and practitioners understand Zhuan Falun, and answer common questions in their learning and practice at their respective levels.Learn the teachings and exercises for free at www.FalunDafa.orgAnd come join us at any of our free weekly group exercises: http://falundafa-florida.org/

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