Here's Why You Should Be Taking Lunch Break Walks

If you're a remote employee, chances are you've dealt with (or are still struggling with) the dreaded work-from-home (WFH) exhaustion, and you're not alone. Buffer reports that one in three remote workers says they feel that they are at home too often, and this can have negative consequences on everything from your circadian rhythm to your immune system to your mental health. The good news is that one of the easiest ways to combat this is also one of the simplest: taking a midday walk.

While walking might not sound like the most impactful form of physical activity, research has consistently shown that even just a little bit of walking a day can have massive effects on your health and well-being. You might be thinking that it's counterintuitive to step away from work in the middle of the day, but giving yourself a chance to reset by removing yourself from your screen can ultimately boost your work productivity and increase your happiness. Let's explore the benefits of walking on your overall well-being. 

Why midday physical activity is important

Taking a break from your work can have a lot of benefits. A 2015 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that people who walked for a half hour during their lunch breaks three times a week showed greater enthusiasm, were less tense, and were generally more relaxed at work on the days they walked compared to the days they did not. 

It's oftentimes easy to discount our mental health and its effects on our overall workplace productivity and experience but more and more research is showing just how connected the two are. For instance, a 2018 study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that midday walks lead to better concentration as well as less fatigue in the afternoon. This not only leads to better productivity with your work, but also a boost in your mental health which can help combat burnout, anxiety, and even depression.

Walking is also great for your body. Physical activity has been shown to improve everything from your cardiovascular and metabolic systems to your endocrine and skeletal systems. On top of this, those who walk at least 20 minutes a day five days a week were 43% less likely to need their sick days, according to Harvard Health Publishing. (Plus, when they did get sick it was for less time.) There is no denying the value of a simple lunch break walk.

Ideas for getting active

The most obvious way to include extra physical activity into your day is to, you guessed it, go for a walk. From getting your vitamin D (it's called the sunshine vitamin for a reason) to boosting your cognitive functioning, walking is an easy and low-impact way to ensure you're living a less-sedentary lifestyle. While walking has a ton of mental and emotional benefits, it can also help you explore your neighborhood, find a new café, or even meet your neighbors' dogs for an added boost.

With that being said, if you do work from home, it can sometimes feel difficult to be motivated to leave the house. If your motivation (or even the weather) isn't on your side, it's important to know you don't have to sacrifice your physical exercise. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay active while also staying indoors. From YouTube and TikTok videos of short fitness, yoga, or even stretching routines to investing in at-home workout equipment like a stationary bike or a kettlebell set, the key to keeping up your physical activity is finding the right fit. (Of course, it's important to remember that you don't necessarily need equipment or weights to stay active or tone your body). The most important thing is to find a way to physically move your body, in whatever way works for you, so that you can reap the incredible benefits of midday activity on both your body and your mind.