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The power of a lunchtime walk

Ross Cunningham shares his thoughts on why encouraging staff to be more active during the working day is essential for employee health and wellbeing.

Published: 12/06/2023

It’s a hugely important step for workplaces in Scotland to encourage staff to be more active during the day and the working week. It has so many benefits to employee wellbeing, which in turn can drive productivity in the workplace. 

I’ve always believed that the happier an employee is, the more they will put into their job. If someone is stressed, burnt out, low on energy, and unhappy for whatever reason – their performance in their role is obviously going to suffer. 

A really easy way to combat that is to both allow and encourage staff to do more physical activity during the working day, and lunchtime is the ideal time for that. 

It breaks up the day a wee bit and lets you get out of the office or place of work and get some much needed fresh air. 

Walking is tremendously good for the brain. Not only are endorphins released when you walk which make you feel calmer and happier, having that time outside of the office and concentrating on walking helps you refocus and perhaps see things from a different perspective. 

There’s a reason that even during the height of the lockdowns when staying at home was the key message, that there was a special allowance to go outside for exercise each day. The mental and physical health benefits of walking (or running) outside are vital for wellbeing. 

Walking by yourself is good, but walking with others brings benefits to social wellbeing. It’s often far easier to open up about how you’re feeling or about worries you have when walking side by side with someone, rather than sitting indoors face to face. It just doesn’t feel so confrontational. 

Aside from improved mental wellbeing and staff bonding through walking, it’s also a great way for people to get more physically fit. It’s amazing how much regular walking can do to help someone lose weight or build up their levels of fitness. 

If you don’t already, I’d recommend taking up lunchtime walks. Try it for a week or two and see if you can feel the difference – I’m confident you will!