People who exercise just once a week or for as little as 10 minutes a day tend to be more cheerful than those who don’t. The type of exercise is not important. It can be anything.
A number of scientific studies have found that physically active people have a much lower risk of developing depression and anxiety than people who rarely move.
But that research centered on the relationships between exercise and psychological problems like depression and anxiety. Fewer past studies explored links between physical activity and upbeat emotions, especially in people who already were psychologically healthy, and those past studies often looked at a single age group or type of exercise. Recent studies though conducted by the University of Michigan have shown that an increase in overall happiness increased for all people tested doing only a minor amount of exercise and this occurred over a wide range of ages.The type of exercise did not seem to matter. Some happy people walked or jogged. Others practiced yoga-style posing and stretching.
Of course happiness is an inherently subjective concept. One person’s description of happiness could be another’s relative gloom, making it difficult to generalize about how any of us might react emotionally to starting an exercise routine. There are indications that social factors could mediate the effects of exercise, for instance the social interactions that occur during an exercise class or trip to the gym might help to elevate people’s moods. Or exercise could more directly change the body, including the brain. We know that exercise improves health and feeling healthier might make people feel happier.
Exercise might also remodel the brain, for example, by prompting the creation of new brain cells or inducing changes in brain chemicals, in ways that contribute to positive emotions.In general though it is becoming more and more evident that people who exercise are probably going to be happier than people who don’t.
By Michael Gross
Michael is a pioneer in the burgeoning indoor trampoline park industry. He is managing member of Bounce! Trampoline Sports, overseeing the development and operation of 8 locations currently for this franchised brand. His trampoline park located in Valley Cottage, NY was the first of its kind in the tri-state area when it opened in November of 2011. Michael is a founding member of the IATP (international assoc. of trampoline parks) and on the ASTM committee establishing standards for the indoor trampoline park industry. Michael has been involved with health oriented physical activities his whole life and continues a daily regimen of cross fit training at his home in the heart of the Catskill