Walking has become one of the exercises of choice for many people to stay healthy. It is simple, inexpensive, and unlikely to lead to injuries. Is it also beneficial for other reasons? A team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently looked at whether walking influences how people feel emotionally.
What was the research about?The researchers conducted four studies. In the first two studies, participants integrated 10 to 15 min walks into their daily routines. In the second two studies, participants came into the laboratory and walked on a treadmill for 10 to 15 min. Participants also completed questionnaires measuring emotions.
Across all four studies, the findings demonstrated that short (10 to 15 min) walks could make people feel happier and more energized. Additionally, after a short walk, people tend to feel calm and relaxed.
Why should it matter to me?When people feel stressed out, a short walk may be just what they need to relieve their tension or boost their mood or energy level.
Source: Ekkekakis, P., Hall, E. E., VanLanduyt, L. M., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2000). Walking in (affective) circles: Can short walks enhance affect? Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 23, 245-275.