Looking For the Path to Happiness? Start Walking

According to a new study.

In a sour mood? Taking a “gentle walk” may lift your spirits, according to a new study in PLoS One.

Adding to mounting research about the physical and psychological benefits of exercise, researchers at the University of Cambridge in England used data from 10,000 people to investigate the relationship between movement — moderate, non-strenuous exercise — and happiness.

To begin, researchers developed an app designed to inform people about the connection between lifestyle decisions and mood. The app — which told users their information would be used for academic research — prompted participants to answer questions throughout the day about their mood and movement levels. Their answers were corroborated with the activity monitors built into (most of) our phones.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

The data suggests that people who had done some form of movement — basically anything besides sitting continuously or lying down — in the past 15 minutes reported feeling happier. This held true regardless for both weekdays and on weekends.

People who moved more also reported being more satisfied with their life than those who sat for most of their time — yet another reason why the act of simply getting up can be such a powerful one.

Read more about the study on NYT.