Study: 5-minute walk breaks during work hours can re-energize employees

Dive Brief:

  • A new study finds that five-minute walks throughout the workday can lift moods, reduce lethargy and improve overall health, reports the New York Times. Brief walks each hour proved to be more effective in improving health than long exercise periods.
  • Other studies have long showed that sitting motionless for nine or more hours reduces blood circulation, causing plaque to build up in the arteries. Researchers also found that sitting for long hours heightened the risk for diabetes, depression and obesity, writes the New York Times.
  • Contrary to what some health experts believed, short, periodic exercises didn’t interfere with study participants’ concentration or make them grumpy, distracted or hungry – conditions that have long-term adverse effects on health and productivity.

Dive Insight:

Five-minute walk breaks are an inexpensive way to promote workplace health and wellness, especially for small companies that lack the resources to offer comprehensive wellness programs.

Employers can encourage workers whose jobs require sitting for long hours to take short walk breaks during the day. Researchers in the study found that breaking up sitting with any type of physical activity, such as standing up, moving around or walking up and down stairs, has health benefits.

Hourly workers with scheduled break periods might not want to to spend the time exercising or ​feel comfortable taking mini-breaks at other times. But employers can still encourage and allow them to take short walk breaks throughout the day.

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Filed Under: Comp & Benefits