Benefits of Exercise Extend Beyond Physical Health
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies and can help improve overall health. Fitting in 30 minutes of physical activity in three times a week has been shown to improve health, mental focus, and our moods. Does it also affect our social lives? A new study has shown some interesting results.
As if your health wasn’t a compelling enough reason to get out and exercise, a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences found that the exercise increases the frequency of positive events and social interactions as well! Let’s find out how this works.
Researchers at George Mason University conducted a study with 179 university students. The students were asked to record their exercise each day for 21 days, and researchers asked whether they had participated in any of the following activities: cycling, weight training, swimming, running, or “other”.
The researchers analyzed student’s daily exercise habits and asked them if “they’d had positive social interactions each day with friends, dates, family members or other people, or they’d achieved something they wanted to get done, such as completing a project.”
The study’s numbers were promising! Results showed that people who exercised were more likely to participate in achievement or social activities on the same day they exercised. The positive benefits were also found to extend beyond the day-of! Researchers found that people who exercised were more likely to experience positive social events the next day as well.
Why It Matters:
These results are great news for those of us who are looking to boost productivity and meet goals, but it is also a step forward in the field of mental health. Millions struggle with depression, and it’s widely known that you’re far less likely to be social and active when depression hits. These results support a form of treatment called Behavioral Activation which focuses on using exercise to boost mood and health. We’re quickly learning that exercise is an important tool in maintaining both physical and mental health!
While it’s easy to use the excuse that exercise takes up too much time – science shows that exercise makes us more likely to accomplish the tasks we need to get done and improves our social interactions, too! So next time you have a big project to finish or you’re just feeling a bit down, you may want to consider hitting the gym before getting to work!
 Gage, Deborah. “Exercise Has a Cascade of Positive Effects, Study Finds.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 25 June 2017. Web.