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Lazybones May Be More Cheerful

Third Age
Thirdage News Service
March 19, 2000

      Scientists now say being idle is a good way to happiness. In fact, if a study by researchers at Britain's University of Hull is to be believed, "layabouts" lead far more cheerful lives than their fitness fanatic friends.

      It may not do your body much good, say Dr. Peter Clough and Dr. David Sewell, but avoiding physical activity at least leaves you in a better mood than those who exercise regularly and get involved in sports. The reason, the two researchers suggest, is that people who are more laid back tend to do things for fun and aren't much bothered by winning or losing.

      The Hull psychologists asked 50 students to keep a daily diary for four weeks, recording their state of mind on a "cheerful" to "miserable" scale before and after their activity for the day. The test subjects were recruited from among the university's runners, weight lifters, squash and chess players and board games enthusiasts.

      Their results, says Clough, suggest that "if you don't like physical exercise, you are better off doing something you enjoy, because this will make you feel more content and improve your well-being." He and his colleague "recognize the benefits of exercise," he adds, "however, we do believe that the psychological advantages of exercise could well be overstated."



1999 ThirdAge Media, Inc.

This news story is not produced by the American Psychological Association and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the association.