Even the Easiest Exercise Makes People Happier

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If the thought of squats or sprints make you want to throw up, there’s good news: According to a new, giant-sized study, even the chillest, sweat-less forms of physical activity boost the mood.

The study, published in PLOS One and highlighted by Gretchen Reynolds at the New York Times, tracked over 10,000 participants who had downloaded an app from the Google app store for Android phones.

The app, which was advertised as a way of helping people track their lifestyle, would intermittently ask people to estimate their happiness levels in the moment. After several weeks of use, it started asking users if they’d been sitting, walking, standing, running, or anything else in the last 15 minutes. The app also used the smartphone’s activity tracker to chart their movement — though this missed any workouts where users didn’t take their phones with them.

The result: People reported feeling happier when they’d done any sort of physical activity beyond sitting or lying down in the past 15 minutes. The most common act wasn’t cycling or running, Reynolds reports, but gentle walking. Literally moving in any way led to feelings of greater happiness.

But if you’d rather be dry heaving, remember that if you’re going hard, fewer reps can yield a better workout.

Even the Easiest Exercise Makes People Happier