It turns out getting your five a day and exercising regularly really does make you happier—according to a new study

This is your sign to eat your five-a-day

Grapefruit Slices On Turquoise Background - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images / Javier Zayas Photography)

Keeping fit and eating healthy is a no-brainer when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, especially with things like burnout and seasonal affective disorder hitting many of us right now but it's not always it’s easy. For many of us, vegetables are a necessity but by no means a pleasure to eat, and a workout routine can feel impossible to stick to—but according to this study, fruit, veg, and exercise don’t just keep us healthy, they actually keep us happy too.

For the exercise adverse, it’s hard to believe that eating a plate full of steamed broccoli and going on a two-mile run could ever bring joy or any kind of happiness—but believe it, because this new study has found a direct correlation between eating your greens and exercising with happiness.

woman exercising at home, using a laptop - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Drakula & Co.)


The research, conducted by The University of Kent, found that improving your lifestyle can lead to life satisfaction. It found that eating a diet full of fruit and vegetables and having an active lifestyle makes us happy, because of delayed gratification.

Researchers for Lifestyle and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Delayed Gratification said: "Findings demonstrate that the ability of individuals to delay gratification and apply self-control plays a major role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on wellbeing."

Yogurt with granola and berries in bowl - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Arx0nt)

“The consumption of fruits and vegetables and sports activities are often undertaken as investments in a healthier future rather than because they bring immediate pleasure.”

They explain that when we make that conscious choice to eat veg and workout we’re delaying our gratification, and as a result changing our neural pathways in the brain. This means our healthy choices actually have a huge impact. So eating the fruit and veg makes us healthy—but making the choices to do so, and for the future makes us happy.

So, if you feel like you’re in a rut, or finding it hard to motivate yourself—making these healthy swaps and exercising regularly,  will make you feel better and likely more able to continue your healthy routine—we understand now why celebs always say how great they feel after drinking a green smoothie.

Dr. Gschwandtner, the head researcher said: "Behavioural nudges that help the planning self to reinforce long-term objectives are likely to be especially helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier, then it is a clear win-win situation."

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification. 

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.