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Physical Activity

 

Techniques Happiness > Physical Activity

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If you have been sitting down for some time, get up and walk around for a bit. Take a break. Go for a coffee. Go outside and take in some fresh air. Do some light stretching exercise (but there is no need to raise heart rate or become sweaty).

You can even set a timer when you are doing seated work, to signal time for a short break. You can also use natural pause moments.

More intense exercise may have an even greater positive effect on happiness, but could well also lead to sweating, so perhaps should be confined to times when you can have a shower afterwards.

Discussion

Panza et al (2017) found that sitting down for long periods reduces subjective well-being and can increase depression, and that even light physical activity would give a temporary improvement.

Examples of three levels of activity that can lead to increasing positive feelings include:

  • Light intensity: A leisurely walk around the shops without any noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate or sweating.
  • Moderate intensity: Walking a mile in about 15-20 minutes, resulting in increased heart rate and breathing rate, with moderate sweat.
  • Vigorous intensity: A rapid walk or jog for a mile that takes about 13 minutes, with a significant increase in heart rate, deep breathing, and noticeable sweating.

The benefits of more vigorous activity have been challenged and may vary more with the individual and the situation.

See also

Keep Busy, Music and Dance, Walk Jauntily

 

Panza, G.A., Taylor, B.A., Thompson, P.D., White, C.M. and Pescatello, L.S. (2017). Physical activity intensity and subjective well-being in healthy adults, Journal of Health Psychology, Feb 2017

 

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