Solution to Work Woes: a Lunchtime Walk

Sedentary subjects find they feel better
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2015 1:53 PM CST
Solution to Work Woes: a Lunchtime Walk
People (and a dog) walk against the backdrop of central London's skyline.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

There's an easy way to beat the workday blues, researchers find, and it doesn't take long: Go for a walk a few times a week during your lunch break. In a study of 75 "physically inactive" people—that is, those who engage in less than 150 weekly minutes of moderate exercise—researchers divided subjects into a walking and a non-walking group (whose members weren't left out: They acted as a control group, then started walking later in the study). Walkers took 30-minute strolls three times during the workweek and twice on weekends, Scientific American reports.

In surveys, walkers said they felt more enthusiastic and more relaxed than non-walkers, Scientific American notes. They were also less nervous after their walks, and they felt better in the afternoons on walking days than on other days. They saw physical health benefits, too, the New York Times reports. Plus, bosses shouldn't mind: "There is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity," a researcher tells the Times. “So we would expect that people who walked at lunchtime would be more productive.” One caveat: The study's participants were almost all women, so more research is needed to generalize to men. (Walking might be able to help fight the effects of excessive sitting.)

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