Stressed out at work? Time to get up and walk
YOU’VE probably heard the health warning: Sitting is the new smoking. The importance of getting up and walking to prevent serious health issues when you sit at a desk all day long has gotten a lot of attention recently. Those health risks include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess weight and high cholesterol levels, all of which may increase the risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
Now, research points to even more benefits from taking a workday walk: boosting your mood and re- lieving job stress.
One series of studies used participants’ feedback to tell researchers how exercise affected them. The workers took three 30-minute group walks at lunchtime each week for 10 weeks. On two random days each week, they completed a morning and an afternoon cellphone report.
When researchers analysed the results, they found that, on the afternoons following a walk, the participants were less tense, more enthusiastic and bet- ter able to cope, compared to afternoons on days they hadn’t walked. As a bonus, the workers showed gains in aerobic fitness and other measures of health at the end of the study.
Another study found that taking daily 15-minute walks in a park during lunch hour led to better concentration and less fatigue in the afternoon. And the benefits were seen almost immediately. Of course, there’s more fun in numbers, so you might want to band with a group of colleagues and bond as you de-stress.