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Study: Physical Activity Spurs Happiness

Mentoring data here in Moab consistently show that mentored youth are happier. Last year, for example, 100% of surveyed teachers, mentors, andparents agreed that mentored youth seemed happier. Children themselves also report being happier. How do we account for this impact?

Many things probably contribute to this finding – boosted confidence, increased social support, working toward and achieving goals, and more. One key ingredient may also be physical exercise.

Oftentimes, mentors and students engage in indoor and outdoor pursuits that elevate heart rate and strengthen muscles. According to a meta-analysis by the University of Michigan1, 30-75 minutes of physical activity one to five times per week brings about a “significant” increase in happiness. More involved exercise regimens provided negligible gains beyond these low to moderate amounts. Notwithstanding the powerful facets of interpersonal benefits for youth, mentoring can boost youth happiness through healthy physical pursuits alone.

Bottom line: don’t discount the benefits of physical activity!

1Zhang, Zhanjia; Chen, Weiyun. A Systematic Review of the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Happiness, The University of Michigan, 2018.






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