Walking Three Days a Week – Super Gains in Health and Happiness

walkingRecently, researchers at the University of Birmingham and other universities recruited sedentary office workers advising them that they would be participating in a study by walking 30 minutes during their usual lunch hour, three times a week.  The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, contained 56 participants (mostly middle-aged women).

Researchers designed questions to measure the participant’s feelings about tension, stress, enthusiasm, physical fatigue and other factors.  A phone application allowed volunteers to respond “in the moment.”  Those involved revealed that “they were out of shape but otherwise generally healthy physically and emotionally.”

For ten weeks, each workday morning and afternoon, participants answered survey questions via phone.  At the conclusion of the study, researchers compared all of the responses, both between groups and within each individual person – looking to determine if both group and individual answers were different on the afternoons when they had walked compared with when they had not.

According to the findings, the responses were significantly different when people had walked – where on days walked, participants felt “considerably more enthusiastic, less tense, and generally more relaxed and able to cope than on afternoons when they hadn’t walked and even compared with their own moods from a morning before a walk.”

An additional and unexpected outcome showed that all participants show “gains in their aerobic fitness and other measures of health at the completion of their 10 weeks of walking.

Want to learn more:

Changes in work affect in response to lunchtime walking in previously physically inactive employees: A randomized trial.