How to Live a Happy Life: Science Shows that Movement is the Best Method

How to Live a Happy Life: Science Shows that Movement is the Best Method

Stand up and start moving. It’s the key to happiness, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

Researchers tracked the movements of 10,000 people (men and women) over 17 months via a special Android app that they’d developed. Throughout the day, users were asked to rate their mood levels. Consistently and universally, people were happier if they’d been moving in the previous 15 minutes.

What’s more, the movement didn’t have to be strenuous—the most common report was “gentle walking.” Nor did it matter if the user was a naturally happy or sour person. Regardless of their baseline, mood improved and was sustained by small but regular amounts of physical activity.

Of course, walking from your car to the office everyday isn’t the same as hitting the track or gym. But the lesson here is clear: Movement is the best medicine for your body and mind. Some easy ways to sneak more into your day:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park as far away from your office or supermarket as you can.
  • Hold a squat or wall sit while brushing your teeth.
  • Install a standup desk (your posture thanks you too).
  • Use the bathroom or printer that’s farthest from your desk.
  • Walk or pace anytime you’re on the phone.
  • Instead of fast-forwarding through commercials, do pushups or jumping jacks—or just run in place.
  • Adopt a dog and let it walk you every day.

If gentle walking can instantly boost your mood, imagine how happy you’ll feel if you randomly drop and do 30 burpees (or 6,000?) a few times a day.

We mean now. Go.