At the International Journal of Public Health we are regularly publish papers on physical activity (some recent examples here, here and here). Our latest paper on that front looks into the effect of a fitness progam on subjective well-being.
This was a 30 minute-twice per week-4 week program that consisted of 6 strength exercises. Thousands of participants were recruited in fitness clubs around Germany and 10,481 contributed to the analyses. Well-being was measured by measuring satisfaction with life and satisfaction with health.
Results showed that a group of overweight (BMI>25) self-selected into the study. The three main goals of the participants for entering the fitness program were a) health management, b) image and c) skill development. There were no significant reductions in weight and BMI; however the fitness level of the participants improved. There was a significant effect of this intervention in both life and health satisfaction and health satisfaction was more than the average of the German population.
The authors conclude that policy makers should support such time-efficient exercise programs, as they seem to be effective and attract people who are a target of public health policies (i.e. overweight people).