A recent study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, found that walks improve mood and relieve stress almost immediately. "To combat afternoon slumps in enthusiasm and focus," the Times article says, "take a walk during the lunch hour."
The study's findings are positive but not particularly surprising. What did surprise me, though, was the comments section:
- "Lunch hour? What is this concept?"
- "Nobody has an hour for lunch any more, and in some fields, the lunch 'hour' is unpaid. Most people I know eat at their desks."
- "A lunch hour would be nice. A lunch half hour would be nice."
It's a shame that some employers don't give their employees a chance to eat in peace, let alone take a break for a walk. But it's also extremely shortsighted. Your employees may sit at their desks all day, but are they truly productive? Are they really engaged? This is why we talk so much about nurturing a culture of health. Biometric screenings and health coaching are extremely powerful tools, but they must be part of a strategic plan to promote wellness in everything you do.
If your wellness program isn't fostering a culture of health, maybe it's time to reevaluate your strategy. And above all, make sure you're working with a wellness vendor who takes the long view.