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Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 1363–1377 | Cite as

The Happiness Workout

  • Paul Dolan
  • Georgios KavetsosEmail author
  • Ivo Vlaev
Article

Abstract

This study tests for causality from exercise and physical activity to life satisfaction (LS) by applying an instrumental variable approach with the respondents’ perceived benefits of exercise participation as instruments. Using data across 25 countries from the Eurobarometer survey, our results confirm the positive association between exercise and LS. In terms of causality, the results indicate that being active increases LS for both gender, though more for men than women. One main reason for this relationship is that exercise is perceived as being pleasurable, something that policy-makers should keep in mind when designing programmes to get us off the sofa.

Keywords

Subjective well-being Life satisfaction Happiness Physical activity Sport 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Peter Ayton, Karol Borowiecki, Daniel Fujiwara, Laura Kudrna, Andrew Oswald, Tessa Peasgood, Nick Powdthavee, Anastasia Stathopoulou, Stefan Szymanski and an anonymous referee for valuable comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of MedicineImperial College LondonLondonUK

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