"Things that many people take for granted like tying one's shoes, getting dressed, or simply moving around were easier for those who reported routine exercise," Martin Binks, research director at the Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University Medical Center, said in a statement.
"These folks weren't reporting high levels of activity yet they still felt better -- this supports what we've been teaching for years -- no amount of exercise is too little to have an impact and it's beneficial no matter what you weigh."
Other quality of life improvements associated with higher activity levels included the ability to complete basic daily tasks, such as getting up from chairs, using the stairs, dressing and undressing and improved physical symptoms like feeling short of breath.
When 100 pounds overweight, as was the average study participant was, people often think "why bother," but this study shows why the value of starting to move no matter how overweight, Binks said.
Binks presented the research, which included more than 1,200 participants, at the Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting in Phoenix.