Stressed out at work? Time to get up and walk

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Vital Signs -

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.

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