The Benefits of a Lunchtime Walk

YOU CAN’T FOCUS AT WORK. YOU’RE UNMOTIVATED. YOU’RE STRESSED. A recent study shows that a 30-minute walk during lunch can help you snap out of your usual early afternoon lull. Health Coach Corey Cenate has some suggestions about how to get out of your chair and onto your feet.

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Having trouble focusing at work? Having trouble getting motivated to tackle daily tasks? Stressed out? Recent research suggests a 30-minute lunchtime walk can boost your mood, and in the moment, decrease your stress.

In the study, participants, most of which were female, were placed in two groups. One group began a 10-week walking program immediately walking for at least 30 minutes. The other group waited 10 weeks later and served as the control group.

Researchers asked both groups questions on their moods in the particular moment on each workday morning and afternoon. The researchers compared the moods of those who had walked and those who had not and also when volunteers had walked in the afternoon versus when they had not.

The results were very different amongst the two groups. "Walkers said they felt considerably more enthusiastic, less tense, and generally more relaxed and able to cope than on afternoons when they hadn't walked and even compared with their own moods from a morning before a walk."

Another interesting point, volunteers in this study walked with partners and groups during the 10 weeks which may have provided each other with motivation and a sense of accountability.

What's important about this study?

  1. Walking at lunch has a significant impact on the individuals mood as well as the level of focus and stress.
  2. Walking with a partner could provide one with motivation and a sense of accountability creating a long lasting healthy behavior.
  3. When you're stressed, or have lost focus, take a walk!

How can I make this work in my day?

  1. Take your meetings outside. A 30 minute walk will breeze by in no time.
  2. If the weather is bad, indoor walking is great!
  3. Got kids? Take them for a walk and catch up on their day.
  4. If you have a meeting or an appointment, walk to the location or drive and park further away to increase the distance to the location.

Corey Cenate is a Wellness Health Coach at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

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