Fitness tracker data reveals direct link between activity and happiness

Withings, now owned by Nokia, is one of the pioneers of the health and fitness wearables industry. With a host of devices under its belt including blood pressure monitorsfitness trackers, watches and smart scales, it has built a loyal following. From time to time, the French company taps into this 100,000 strong community to bring us some interesting insights.

Essential reading: Which Withings tracker is right for me?

The latest study seeks to find the keys to happiness. The study was based on anonymous answers from nearly 8,000 respondents to a Withings wellbeing survey combined with data from their activity trackers.

This has become a hotly debated topic in recent years. It seems that happiness (and depression), is partly inherited. There are other factors, of course, such as your job, income, family and health.

While its clear that the key to happiness may lie in your genes and the environment, there are things you can do even when the cards are stacked against you. For example, one of the questions in the survey asked the users how happy and how stressed they felt over the past 24 hours. The results clearly showed a direct link between activity levels and happiness.

It seems that being active is also great therapy for those experiencing a high level of stress. The “happy and stressed” took 13% more steps daily than the “unhappy and stressed”. The “happy and not stressed” were, however, the most active, with 19% more steps. The study also found that respondents who consider themselves able to handle stress well were 10% more active those who report that they handle stress poorly.

What do you do? That’s often one of the first questions people ask when they meet someone new. Not surprising considering that adults spend most of their waking hours at work. But how do job seekers and workers rank their level of employee satisfaction? Not so well it seems. A number of recent surveys indicate that an overwhelming number of people are in search of a more fulfilling job experience.

If your job and work environment are dragging you down, there are things you can do to improve your mood. The Withings study found that those who are happy and report a poor work environment are the most active, even more so than those who are happy and have a good work environment. Perhaps the exercise serves as an antidote. They are also 19% more active than those who are unhappy and have a poor work environment, who log the least number of steps.

So what can we take away from this study? Withings concludes by saying.

Our data shows that activity correlates positively with increased happiness and decreased stress. So as we all face challenges in our daily lives, getting our legs moving and our blood pumping each day might just help us stay a bit happier and a bit less stressed.

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