The good news is, science may be coming round to this view. Indeed, a report published by Swiss researchers this week claims that too much exercise can make teenagers miserable. Led by the distinguished paediatrician Joan-Carles Suris, and based on studies of 1,200 adolescents, it found that a moderate amount of physical activity did make them happier. But those who were exercising for two or more hours a day reported lower levels of emotional wellbeing.
Dr Suris argues that doctors may be putting too much faith in the magic of exercise. “As paediatricians, we ask children if they practise sport. If they say, 'Yes, three hours a day,’ we think, 'Great – this guy has no problems.’ Maybe, though, we should ask, 'Are you happy? Would you prefer to read a book?’ ”
Less jogging, more novels: I like this doctor’s orders."