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A short walk improves mental well-being


Short leisurely walks improve the mood
Many people suffer from stress and impaired wellbeing. It is not unusual for those affected to seek professional help for their treatment. Researchers found that a leisurely stroll, especially among those tied to a desk, successfully improves the well-being of those affected and can prevent depression, for example.

The University of Connecticut scientists found in their research that a short walk is just as successful in maintaining personal well-being as regular jogging. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Health Psychology".

People working in the office should go for a walk more often
When people work all day sitting in an office, their well-being often drops. But even light physical activity seems to help improve human well-being, the experts say. The consequences are comparable to the positive effects of exercises such as jogging or walking faster.

Physical activity improves well-being
The University of Connecticut researchers found that physical activity improves people's sense of well-being. However, different levels of physical activity were more beneficial for some specific people. A light and moderate physical activity clearly promotes well-being in some people. However, there was no positive or negative association between high intensity of physical activity and subjective well-being, the scientists say.

What does light physical activity include?
Light physical activity was classified as the equivalent of a leisurely walk without a noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate, or sweating, the study authors explain. Moderate activity is synonymous with a faster walk of about 15 to 20 minutes, with an increase in breathing, heart rate and sweating. Those affected are still able to have a conversation. A so-called strong activity is equivalent to a very fast, pronounced walk or jogging one mile in 13 minutes, the researchers say. This results in a noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate and sweating to the point where the person concerned is no longer able to hold a conversation.

Doctors examine over 400 subjects
For their study, the scientists examined 419 healthy middle-aged adults. The subjects wore accelerometers on their hips to track physical activity over a four-day period. Participants had to complete a series of questionnaires about their daily exercise and activity habits and their psychological wellbeing.

Little activity is better than no activity at all
The effects of physical activity on subjective well-being are extremely interesting. But how much activity is best for humans? Basically, any form of activity is better than doing nothing, says author Gregory Panza of the University of Connecticut.

Light or moderate intensity of physical activity brings the greatest benefit
We hope that this research will help people achieve a higher level of subjective well-being, the study author explains. People without any physical activity must be informed about how even little physical exercise can improve wellbeing. For physically inactive people, the results of the study are even more promising because they show that hard physical training is not essential to improve well-being. Instead, the current results show that light or moderate intensity of physical activity leads to the greatest improvement in well-being, the researcher explains.

All subjects reported an improvement in well-being
Linking different types, doses and intensities of physical activity to well-being is a very important step in promoting overall physical activity. "Hopefully, the study will result in more inactive people using physical exercise to improve their wellbeing," the scientists concluded. All subjects who had participated in the University of Connecticut study reported positive changes in well-being and generally increased physical activity. (as)

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