It's 3:00pm on a Wednesday, and you're rooted to your desk. You know you have things to do, but you can't focus on anything, and you can't muster up the enthusiasm to perform even the most basic task. What do you do? Better yet, how can you prevent yourself from getting to this point in the future?
The answer, it turns out, is simple: take a walk.
Researchers wanted to see if taking a walk during lunch would improve the mood of otherwise sedentary university workers in the United Kingdom. Spoiler alert: the walks worked!
They published their results in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, claiming, "Lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work." Sounds pretty good to us!
According to The New York Times, participants walked for 30 minutes three times a week at lunch, and were asked to record their mood via a mobile phone app. It turns out that walking had fairly substantial positive impacts on mood:
The responses, as it turned out, were substantially different when people had walked. On the afternoons after a lunchtime stroll, 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.
Though the study was small (only 56 people) and overwhelmingly focused on women (nearly 93% of participants were female), but it's a good reminder that sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. The next time you're feeling like you're not going to be able to make it through the day, get outside for a nice stroll.
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