If you want to find the key to happiness, you may want to start by breaking a sweat. According to a from Yale and Oxford University, exercise may be more important than money when it comes to mental health.
For the study, researchers collected information about the physical behavior and mental health of over 1.2-million Americans. 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 also provided info about their income and how active they were, and were able to choose from 75 different activities that count as exercise, including lawn care, housework, and more traditional workouts like running.
Scientists found that folks who exercise regularly reported feeling bad about 35 days a year, compared to the non-active participants that had an additional 18 bad days a year. And they also found that people who are physically active feel as good as those who don’t exercise in some way, but earn $25,000 a year more.
But don’t go thinking you can devote your life to working out all the time and be the happiest person in the world. It turns out, too much physical activity can lead to the opposite effect. The study finds that the sweet spot for sweat sessions is three to five a week, each lasting about 45 minutes.