Mid-Day Walks Are Shown to Increase Overall Mood
Everyone knows that regular exercise is important to battle obesity and its related illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Exercise can also help to improve our moods and help to alleviate symptoms of depression. According to a new study, taking a brief 30-minute walking session during the middle of your day can help reduce stress and increase focus. It does not matter how strenuous the walk is, as long as it lasts around the 30-minute mark.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham wanted to test whether a brief interval of walking can affect a person’s mood, particularly in the work arena. Past studies have been done on this subject but asked subjects to recall their moods before and after a walk. This new study changed things a bit by getting more current updates from participants.
In the study, 56 sedentary office workers were recruited for the experiment. Prior to beginning, each person completed a series of tests to determine their health and moods. The group was then divided into two, with one beginning a ten-week walking regiment immediate and the other waiting to begin ten weeks later. In order to get up to the minute mood updates, the researchers developed a smartphone app that allows volunteers to measure their feelings on stress, workload, and other feelings on life and work.
The researchers then observed the results of the mood updates between both groups. They found that in the afternoon, those volunteers who had walked felt much more enthusiastic and relaxed compared to those who did not walk. The study did not necessarily measure productivity, but did offer hints at how to help employees cope with stress and afternoon sluggishness.
“There is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity,” said Dr. Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani, co-author of the study. “So we would expect that people who walked at lunchtime would be more productive.” In addition, all of the volunteers showed gains in aerobic fitness and other health factors by the end of the experiment.
The only issue here is that many of the participants stated that they did not believe they would be able to continue their daily walks to their employer’s demands. A few participants even had to drop out midway through the experiment (their results were not included in the final results). However, with the findings being what they were, they may encourage employers to adapt to the latest scientific findings.