We’re well aware of the many benefits of exercise which include better health, improved sports performance and stress reducer. And now we can add one more the list. And that’s that exercise helps give purpose to our lives.
A recent study from Harvard University observed over 14 thousand adults over 50 years for a four year period. What they found was that those that exercised more had:
- more purpose to their lives
- more meaningful lives
- more happiness
- more years i.e. longevity
How much and how frequently the subjects exercised was correlated to feelings of purpose. And those with purpose was associated with doing more exercise.
This makes me wonder if this a ‘chicken & egg’ type of scenario? Does exercise lead to purpose? Or does having purpose in your life cause you to want to exercise?
When exercise is lacking from our lives we have a decreased sense of purpose later in life. And with less purpose we are less likely to engage in physical activity.
So what we do we mean we speak of purpose? I remember hearing this described as belonging to something bigger or greater than ourselves. Maybe this is being a part of a church community, going on mission trips to under-developed countries or volunteering for a charity. What we may forfeit in terms of reward in these types of situations is replaced by a sense of purpose.
And when we have a stronger purpose in life we:
- live longer
- have less heart disease
- are better protected against Alzheimer’s
- have better pain management
Maybe you are not in a health crisis and are able to manage a healthy weight. But you sometimes wonder what you are supposed to do with your life and how to figure this out? The solution may be to get back into an active lifestyle to realize your purpose in life.
If this sounds like you and you’re ready to take control of your health and find purpose to your life make sure to connect with one of our coaches. We’d be happy to help.
Yemiscigil, A., Vlaev, I. The bidirectional relationship between sense of purpose in life and physical activity: a longitudinal study. J Behav Med (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-021-00220-2