The physical and mental benefits of exercise have been discussed plenty of times before but a new study carried out by researchers at Yale and Oxford has said that exercise is probably more important to your mental health than your economic status.

The study involved observing the physical behaviour and mental mood of over 1.2 million Americans. Participants were asked to answer questions regarding their mental health, income and physical activities. Physical activity was anything from lawn-mowing, childcare, and housework to weight lifting, cycling, and running.

The scientists found that those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for around 35 days a year, while non-active participants felt bad for 18 days more on average.


Researchers also discovered that physically active people feel just as good as those who don’t do sports, but who earn around $25,000 more a year. This means that you’d have to earn quite a lot more for your earnings to give you the same happiness-boosting effect sport has.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the more sport you do, the happier you are. Too much physical activity can also have a detrimental effect on your body. The study found that physical activity only contributes to better mental well-being when it falls within a certain time frame. According to the study, three to five training sessions each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes per week is ideal.