The immense benefits of exercising on the physical as well as mental health of a person are very well-known. A new research has shown that regular exercise can also significantly enhance the sense of satisfaction a person feels towards his or her life.
The new findings have been disclosed by a group of researchers at Penn State. The researchers focused on emerging adults, in other words youngsters, who are currently gaining education or starting their jobs. This age bracket was selected especially because many youngsters tend to have rather low satisfaction levels with their lives.
According to Jaclyn Maher, who was a part of the research, “Emerging adults are going through a lot of changes; they are leaving home for the first time and attending college or starting jobs. As a result, their satisfaction with life can plummet. We decided to focus on emerging adults because they stand to benefit the most from strategies to enhance satisfaction with life.”
During the course of the research, two separate groups of college students were asked to file responses to given questions in their diary each day. The first group comprised of 190 individuals who filled the information in their diaries for 8 days. The second group was that of 63 individuals who had to fill in their diaries for 14 days.
The information that was gathered from the first group was meant to gauge how much physical activity they undertake, their satisfaction levels with life and their overall self-esteem. The second group was specifically analysed to see if physical activity can enhance satisfaction with life.
According to Maher, “The findings reinforce the idea that physical activity is a health behavior with important consequences for daily well-being and should be considered when developing national policies to enhance satisfaction with life.”
The research also revealed that having a greater weight can cause anxiety in a person, leading him to have a lower satisfaction level. At the same time, depression and stress can retard the motivation for exercising and lead a person to reduce his physical activity.
David Conroy, a professor of kinesiology, commented, “Based on these findings, we recommend that people exercise a little longer or a little harder than usual as a way to boost satisfaction with life.”