If you ever feel that your energy is starting to take a nose dive and you are exhausted in mid afternoon or by the end of your work day a recent study could provide you with a simple solution.

The new study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology shows that if you want to feel more focused and higher levels of energy for the whole day take a lunchtime walk. How long? Only 15minutes!

The research

Researchers surveyed 100 workers from a variety of roles about their lunch break routines. For 10 working days in a row they were asked to change what they did. After a short time to eat, half off the group were asked to take a leisurely 15-minute stroll through the local park and just notice their surroundings.

The other half of the group were asked to find a quiet place (after they had a quick bite to eat) inside their office building where they could take 15 minutes undisturbed to use relaxation exercises and mindfulness techniques.

In the weeks before, during and after the experiment the employees rated three areas:

  1. Their level of wellbeing
  2. How much they enjoyed the lunch break
  3. How easily they could detach from their work

The results

In comparison to their normal lunch time routines both groups said they had higher levels of wellbeing, felt less strain and could concentrate better when they followed the new routines.

According to the study author Marjaana Sianoja people in the walking group enjoyed their breaks more and had higher levels of energy and concentration than those in the relaxation group.

The higher levels of enjoyment for the walking group could be attributed to the employees being able to detach more from the working environment. People in the relaxation group reported no more enjoyment of the lunch break than they did on their normal routine.

Based on this research it is easy to conclude that taking short recovery breaks of about 15 minutes can help you leave work with higher levels of energy. However, to get more enjoyment out of your work and boost your concentration levels in the afternoon, a 15-minute leisurely walk outside can do wonders.