If you’re feeling tense and worn down at work, try resisting that extra cup of coffee and consider taking a lunchtime stroll instead.
A 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that a brief midday walk can have immediate and noticeable effects on enthusiasm and relaxation.
Researchers recruited 56 sedentary office workers, who were divided into two groups. The first immediately began a 10-week lunchtime walking plan; the second group began its plan after the first group’s concluded, acting as a control in the meantime.
Every morning, volunteers used an app on their phones to answer a series of questions assessing work-related issues like fatigue and motivation. Then, after their 30-minute walk, they completed the questionnaire again.
According to study coauthor and psychological scientist Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, PhD, experiments about exercise and mood often require subjects to recall, hours or days later, how exercise made them feel. Rather than depend on the subjects’ memories, the researchers used the app to gather instantaneous feedback.
When researchers compared the results, they found that walkers returned to work feeling substantially more enthusiastic and relaxed. Thøgersen-Ntoumani explains that “there is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity.”
So, consider stepping away from your desk for a bit. You might return feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to handle the rest of the day.
This article originally appeared as “Walking Lunch.”