New research published by the YMCA shows that those with an active lifestyle are up to 32% happier than people who lead an inactive lifestyle. For those who cycle commute or cycle for pleasure, this is quite obvious but now it has been proven in research.
1000 UK residents were surveyed in September 2016 and asked 14 questions based on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). They also answered a set of questions about their lifestyle. Other than their activity levels, the surveyed answered questions about the mental stimulation they get in life, their educational achievements, the quality and quantity of their social relationships, and levels of financial security and confidence.
What the research found
With regards to exercise, the research found, “Leading an active lifestyle brings a 13% increase in average wellbeing scores. An inactive lifestyle reduces the average wellbeing score by 19% (meaning there’s a 32% gap in average wellbeing scores between the most and least active).”
One of the great pieces of news for those who (possibly like the blogger writing this piece…) have let their exercise levels lapse recently is that you can change your mental wellbeing in a relatively short time just by getting on your bike. The paper stated, “Those who are much more active than they were three years ago enjoyed an uplift of 8%. People who became much less fit over three years saw wellbeing fall by 22%.” In short, you fall further by becoming a couch potato than you do by getting on your bike, but there is significant change to be had. Once you get on your bike, stay on it.
If you have used your bike to get to work in the face of the tube and train strikes this week, you should stay on it to increase your health and happiness levels.
Peter Fitzboydon, Chief Executive of London Sport said of the research, “while the 32% gap in wellbeing scores between those that lead an active lifestyle and those that are significantly less active highlighted in this report comes as no surprise, it starkly sets out the importance of developing physical activity and sport programmes that work for those people that are most likely to experience low levels of personal wellbeing.”
With epidemics of obesity and loneliness in the UK, there has never been a better time to get on your bike. No time like the present!