The Single Best Way To Use Your Lunch Break Can Also Improve Your Health

For the 10th consecutive year, America is about to be reminded that prioritizing its health even during the workday is worthwhile. April 27 is National Walk@Lunch Day, a day where everyone is encouraged to begin a new daily walking routine. After all, the single best way to use that glorious 60 minutes of paid downtime is to take a walk on your lunch break. By far, this could be the one thing you do all day that improves your health long term.

It's no secret that moving more is the gateway concept to having more energy, and generally feeling more like a unicorn that floats into the room on a cloud of rainbow dust than a haggard old lady who rolls into a meeting hungover and exhausted. Finally, though, studies are investigating the effects of increasing daily steps over the course of a lifetime, and how it can help keep you focused and happy. One particular Scandinavian study examined tired office workers and the health improvements they experienced after incorporating a lunchtime stroll into their daily work routine. The results are encouraging and worth talking about, especially in light of National Walk@Lunch Day, which you should plan to participate in today.

The workers who took part in the study were mostly middle-aged women who were asked to walk for just 30 minutes during their break three times per week. In all, 56 people participated in the study. The group was split in two, with one half engaging in the daily walks and the second half serving simply as a control group for the study. Researchers set baseline health, fitness, and mood standards for each participant and they found that after 10 weeks the walkers reported feeling less tension, more enthusiasm, and an increased ability to "cope" with stresses than the non-walkers.

I think we all know where this is going. Workers who are happy and less stressed are more productive and contribute to a positive work environment. Outside of this study, we know that increasing spontaneous physical activity (SPA) is the best way to keep healthy. Adding a 30-minute or, dare I say it, a 60-minute walk to your usual nine-to-five is going to markedly increase the amount of SPA you get in a day.

Feel better, go outside, and get some fresh air. It's that simple if you're willing to think outside the box and step outside your cubicle for a brisk jaunt. Hey, it's spring, go enjoy the pretty blossoms and the scent of freshly cut grass while taking part in a national holiday. This, my friends, is a scientifically-backed win-win.

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