Money won’t buy you happiness. Or so they say. But what will? If you make enough money to cover your basic needs but feel bad about not making enough to be truly rich, consider an alternative strategy. Exercise.
A study in the U.S. showed that those who exercise regularly were on average happier than those who didn’t exercise. What’s more, according to the researchers, the difference in mental health burden of those who participated in team-based sports versus those who didn’t was comparable to the difference in the mental health of individuals with $25,000 a year in household income. In simple talk. Regular participation in sports activities will impact your mental health the same way as making an additional $25,000 a year.
If you decide to give exercise some attention then consider when is the best time of the day for this activity. According to Daniel Pink, there are advantages to exercising in the morning and the evening. It depends on what you want to accomplish. Morning exercise is for situations when you want to lose weight since you haven’t eaten yet and your body will consume stored fat; when you want to boost your mood as it will elevate your mood; or when you want to build strength as testosterone peaks in the morning, and it helps build muscles. The evening exercise is then helpful when you want to avoid injury as your muscles are more elastic and less prone to injury; when you want to perform at your best as the energy in your body, including your lungs, is better distributed, your strength peaks and your hand-eye coordination is better; and when you want to enjoy your workout more as with more energy, the exercise will be less taxing. In short, train in the morning, but compete in the evening.
Though, as with everything, moderation is key. Mental health of those who overdo the exercise also suffers. Researchers suggest that the optimal amount of exercise that has the most positive effect on mental health is between two and six hours a week. So let’s agree on five hours a week as the optimal. With about 50 weeks a year, let’s round it down a bit, that will lead to 250 hours of exercise a year with happiness equal to $25.000. That makes it $100 worth of happiness an hour.
So the next time you use excuses for not having enough time to exercise because you need to make money, consider whether the amount of money you make brings you more happiness than the workout.
What is your take on the topic? Would you take a salary cut if you could get an hour of your workday to exercise? Is there such a thing as too much exercise? What’s the optimal number of hours you exercise every week that makes you feel great?
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