According to new research from Oxford and Yale, physical activity has a greater impact on your mental health than your economic status! I think this is an intuitive result (at least for anyone working in the fitness industry), but it’s fantastic to see some measurements being put to the relationship, and with the backing of a huge study too.
- The researchers surveyed 1.2 Million Americans over 4 years (that’s a BIG study!) about the number of bad mental health days they’d had in the last 30 days, and compared those who were physically active to those who were not. They mathematically balanced the two groups in terms of age, economic status, gender etc.
- Regular exercisers were found to have on average 35 ‘bad’ days per year, a full 18 days less than nonactive participants.
- While happiness also increased with income, it took more than $25,000 more dollars a year to offset the unhappiness caused by being physically inactive!
- Every type of physical activity was beneficial, but the greatest impact was seen with team sports, cycling, and gym activities (yay weights!)
- The benefits peaked at about 45 minutes of hard exercise, 3 to 5 times per week. Exercising more than three hours a day was actually associated with worse mental health, equivalent to being inactive.
- Here’s the study on The Lancet
The bottom line is, exercising 3-5 days a week can make you as happy as a $25,000 raise, is immediately accessible, and has a long list of additional health benefits to boot. I’ll see y’all in the weight room!