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Why That Morning Walk Makes You Smile All Day

By Sandy Schroeder

We would probably all agree that we deserve to be happy, but we may hesitate when we consider how that plays out every day.  I think I am happiest when I stay connected with friends and family, make my regular yoga class, and get enough sleep.

Everybody’s priorities are different, but U.S. researchers are now saying we should exercise if we want to be happier more of the time. Researchers looked at studies from around the world and found physical activity creates contentment at any age. Researchers already knew physical activity helped treat and prevent depression and anxiety, but the benefits turn out to be more widespread.

University of Michigan researchers Weiyun Chen and Zhanjia Zhang looked at data from 23 studies on happiness and physical activity, covering several countries and including children, teens, adults, teens, seniors and cancer survivors.

One Day of Exercise a Week Works

Fifteen of the studies showed one day of exercise per week may be enough to boost happiness.

The More Exercise the Better

People who were active just a little were happier than those who did not exercise at all, according to the researchers. People who were active were 29 percent more likely to be happy, 52 percent of the very active ones were more likely to be contented.

Exercise Increases Happiness Everywhere

Research showed physical activity works for kids, adults and seniors. They also found physical activity increases happiness for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, ovarian cancer survivors and drug abusers.

Stretching and balance exercises, aerobic exercise and mixed school activity classes for kids turned up as positive choices around the globe.

What This Means for Us

You may already know how much better you feel when you weave 30 minutes of walking or running into your day. My contentment score climbs when I hit the treadmill in the morning and close the day with yoga stretches.

Make a List

Think about your day and start breaking out the high and low points. See where exercise fits, and where you could add more?

  • Are you a morning walker or runner
  • Do you top off lunch with a thoughtful walk
  • Are your weekends filled with hiking, biking or active sports
  • Do extra work hours slow your workouts down
  • Are holidays and special events replacing regular exercise
  • Could you use some new fun ways to exercise

Most of us could use a few prompts to hang onto our fitness routines, but it’s all worth it if you wind up smiling at the end of the day. Enjoy!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fayetteville, N.C.

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