As the saying goes, “you’re only as old as you feel.” But what if you feel old and tired? You might want to go to the gym after work. Then that post-work exhaustion strikes you and you end up lying on sofa with your pajama pants.
Don’t worry, you can still feel energetic and youthful after work. Researchers have found that just six minutes of walking can increase a person's motivation to perform physical activity and improve feelings of energy, fatigue, depression, and confusion.
How the study went
The researchers recruited a group of patients aged over 65 and conducted a three-day study.
On the first day, the researchers measured the participants’ moods, had them walk around, and measured their moods again. On the second and third day, the researchers asked the participants to do cognitive tasks that were meant to make them feel worse and measured their moods. After the participants went for a walk, their moods were measured again.
It turned out that even six minutes of walking can improve their moods. “We had them walk for six minutes around a track, and we had them walk at a pace that they felt comfortable with," said Ali Boolani, the research leader. "Even on the days they did cognitive tasks they started feeling better, and they even got up above baseline, which was really cool."
In addition, the researchers found that walking decreased their levels of anxiety. The faster they walked, the more their feelings of energy increased and their feelings of fatigue decreased.
"Feelings of anxiety definitely improved, this is along the lines of most of the studies that have been done that show that physical activity improves feelings of anxiety," said Boolan.
So, in a real setting, if you are having a tough day and you don't feel like working out, maybe just six minutes of walking can make you more motivated to perform physical activity.