An afternoon slump in enthusiasm and focus is common in all workplaces. People hate working after having just had their lunch. They would much rather be somewhere else.
One way to combat the drop in enthusiasm in the afternoon and to get through the rest of the day with renewed vigor is to take a quick walk during the lunch break, just after lunch. This is an idea that always works. Hard to believe that something so simple could be more effective?
Well, there are studies that prove how a gentle mid-afternoon stroll after lunch can improve people’s moods and help them handle the stress at work better. There’s nothing new in this – everybody knows what a great activity walking can be. In fact, any exercise is a great activity, including walking. People who exercise and are physically active are calmer, sharper and happier than those who don’t.
You just have to walk 30 minutes during the lunch hour break. Just try it and experience the change in your mood. Let’s consider a study that was published in the Scandanavian Journal of Medicine that proves this point. The study investigated the immediate effects of walking in the lunch hour on people, specifically, rather than the positive effects of walking in general.
Participants were first asked to participate in a 10 week walking program during their lunch hour break. They were asked to walk for 30 minutes after lunch, 3 days a week. Immediately after the walk, they were asked to report their mood by answering a series of questions on a smart phone app. There was a different group of participants who were asked not to walk during the lunch hour at all.
The questions asked were designed to find out how the participants felt immediately following the walk – whether they felt stressful, tense, enthusiastic, mindful of their workload, motivated, exhausted or fatigued. There were questions related to work and life issues as well.
What made this study different from similar studies conducted in the past was that the participants were asked to report their mood or feelings in real time, immediately after the walk, using their smart phone app. In past studies, the volunteers were asked about their mood or feelings several hours or even days after the walk – which meant that there was a serious time lag, which affected the accuracy of their answers.
Now, the researchers asked the same questions to the group of volunteers who were asked not to walk during their lunch break. The answers of those who walked and those who didn’t were compared and the results were as you might have expected – the volunteers who walked were far more enthusiastic about their work, felt less stressful and able to take on the afternoon workload with a smile on the face!
Clearly, taking a quick walk during your lunch break would help improve your mood significantly and do wonders for your workplace productivity. The only issue was that many participants in the program were forced to quit midway as their managers were not appreciative of the fact that they went walking during the lunch break rather than staying behind at the desk.
In fact, the management in all organizations should be made aware of the benefits of walking during the lunch break and how it impacts the productivity in the workplace positively. It improves the mood and the general atmosphere at the office and employees would be looking forward to work with renewed enthusiasm. Perhaps the management should be told to take a quick walk during the lunch break as well!