08 Mar Get active; and get happier!
You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high, but could you boost your mood and feel happier by simply getting up and moving around more? There’s good news from a research study that linked happiness with not only exercise but also non-exercise physical activity, such as standing and walking around the house or office. You may not have to break a sweat to enjoy the psychological benefits of physical activity.
App Reveals How Simple Physical Movement Affects Happiness
Researchers enlisted 10,000 people to use a free mobile phone app and provide data on measures of happiness throughout the day. They were able to capture their physical activity throughout the day by the movement data automatically captured by their smartphones. The study continued for over a year.
Their study found that how often people move around physically during the day, whether or not it is during rigorous exercise, was associated with both being healthier and happier. This can be a good reason to develop the habit of breaking up long periods of sitting with a few minutes of walking rather than waiting until you can hit the gym. In addition to reducing the health risks of sitting, these bouts of physical activity may improve your mood.
Your Phone Knows the Truth About How Physically Active You Are
How do you know how much non-exercise activity you get throughout the day?
It’s something researchers couldn’t easily capture in past years. They would have to enlist test subjects to wear a pedometer or accelerometer. But now most people carry their smartphone everywhere they go, and those phones include an accelerometer sensor. Your mobile phone knows when you stand up and move around.
You can view your steps and activity throughout the day on a variety of pedometer apps.
Now, researchers can easily know how much a volunteer test subject is moving around during the day, including whether they are moving fast enough to rate it as exercise or whether it is lower-intensity physical activity.
The study used self-reports of what people were doing when prompted during the day as well as the data their phone automatically captures. In this way, researchers could see how physically active each person was in the 15 minutes before they reported their mood.
Can Simply Being Active Boost Your Mood?
The app prompted users to report their mood twice per day at random moments that were at least two hours apart. The researchers found that people were happier when they reported that they were exercising, which was a result also found in previous studies. But the test subjects also reported being happier when the app sensed they had been active.
The researchers found that whether people reported their activity themselves or it was objectively measured by the phone and app, they were more likely to be happier when they were physically active.
By using the app, the researchers were able to get reports of mood at random points during the day. The users also answered surveys about overall mood and life satisfaction covering a longer time frame…
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