ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — Whether it be a leisurely stroll or a power walk, taking a walk during lunch hour can dramatically increase your focus and enthusiasm, finds a new study, as reported in The New York Times.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham and other schools recruited sedentary office workers. Volunteers were told the would have to be available to walk for 30 minutes during their lunch hour three times a week.
Most of the 56 volunteers were middle-age women.
They were divided into two groups, one group started a simple 10-week walking program right away. The others waited until the other group was finished to start its walking session, in order to act as a control group.
In order to immediately assess people’s moods, the scientists helped set up an app on their smartphones where the volunteers would answer questions about their emotional states.
The researchers compared the answers of the groups that had finished walks to the group that did not, and found the responses were significantly different for those who had walked.
The walkers indicated they were feeling more enthusiastic, less tense and general more relaxed than their sedentary counterparts.
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.
“There is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity. So we would expect that people who walked at lunchtime would be more productive.” said lead researcher Dr. Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani.