This week in silly studies: Skipping makes people happier

We have some advice for dealing with that person in your office who is a real grouch - tell them to pull their shoulders back a bit more and lift their head up.

A new study from San Francisco State University shows slouching not only makes your neck creak and shoulders ache, but it also makes you sad.

Some students who participated in the study were asked to walk down the hall in a slouched position and some were asked to skip with their heads held high. NBC's Body Odd blog reports the slouchers "reported increased feelings of depression and lower energy levels than the skippers."

Basically the researchers found mood and energy levels are affected by posture.

"When you choose to put your body in a different mode, it's harder to drop into depression," said the study's author Erik Peper, who is with the University, in the paper. "Skipping may trigger similar biological pathways as HRV training for the treatment of depression."

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Participants with a history of depression reported a significant decrease in energy levels if they walked in a slouched position.

"When individuals have less energy, they feel that they can do less," wrote Peper. "And this feeling tends to increase depressive thinking."

Previous studies have also shown sitting a lot whether it be at work or in front of the TV decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have also found people who have powerful postures have higher testosterone levels, more self confidence and less stress.

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But this isn't a story without solutions.

Peper suggests knowing about this can force people to shift body postures when they start to feel depressed and they may be able to interrupt or reverse the feelings. People can improve their quality of life by introducing more body movements into their daily routines. It's not about having more energy, it's about convincing your body that you do.

"I felt depressed when I looked down walking slowly," said one student who participated. "I realized that I walk like that all the time. I really need to change my walking pattern."

The student said he or she felt happier almost immediately after starting to skip.

(Thinkstock image)

The week in silly studies is a feature that appears each Tuesday.
It is not intended to mock real science.

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