The key to being more happy is simply to move around a little more.
A little extra physical movement makes people appreciably happier, new research finds.
Activities that can’t even be classified as exercise, but do involve moving around a little are enough to provide a boost.
Getting up from the desk to walk around a little is one good example.
Dr Jason Rentfrow, one of the paper’s authors, said:
“Our data show that happy people are more active in general.
However, our analyses also indicated that periods of physical activity led to increased positive mood, regardless of individuals’ baseline happiness.
There have been many studies about the positive psychological effects of exercise, but what we’ve found is that in order to be happier, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon – all you’ve really got to do is periodically engage in slight physical activity throughout the day.”
The results come from a study in which data from over 10,000 people’s smartphones was analysed.
People who moved about more were happier and people were happier in those moments when they moved about more.
Dr Gillian Sandstrom, a study co-author, said:
“Most of us don’t keep track of all of our movements during the day.
A person might track whether they went for a walk or went to the gym, but when asked, most of them probably wouldn’t remember walking from the desk to the photocopier, or from the car to the office door.”
Professor Cecilia Mascolo, another study co-author, added:
“This study shows how mobile and wearable technology really can allow social psychologists to perform large longitudinal studies as well as open a direct and permanent connection with the users for advice and intervention.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Lathia et al., 2016).