Life

Lunchtime Walks Improve Mood & Stress,Vitamin Drinks Questioned & NFL Concussion Rate Improves

Lunchtime Walks Improve Mood, Reduce Stress at Work, Study Says

Taking a walk during your lunch break can improve your mood and your ability to handle stress at work. That’s the finding of a new study that focuses on the immediate impact of a healthy activity on workplace performance.

It’s a well-known fact that walking is good for your health with long-term benefits, and it’s an ideal way for sedentary individuals to start an exercise program. But few studies have chronicled the hour-to-hour effect of a walking break during the work day.

The new study, which was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports this month, was conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham after recruiting sedentary office workers at the university.

During the 10-week research period, participants took part in three weekly, 30-minute lunchtime group walks. Participants also completed twice daily reports to measure effectiveness at work (morning and afternoon) using mobile phones on two randomly chosen days per week.

Researchers helped the volunteers to set up an app on their phones that included a list of questions about their emotions. Volunteers were asked about their feelings at the moment, and about stress, tension, enthusiasm, workload, motivation, physical fatigue and other issues.

“Lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work,” researchers concluded.

After a lunchtime stroll, most walkers said they felt much more enthusiastic, less stressed and more able to cope than on those afternoons when they hadn’t walked.  All of the volunteers showed gains in their aerobic fitness after completing 10 weeks of walking.

Researchers did not directly measure the impact of the lunchtime walks on workplace productivity but “there is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity,”  Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani, the study’s lead author, told the New York Times.

Here are more recent articles on the benefits of exercise:

  • Study: Active Lifestyle Slows Down Aging
  • Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long-Term Benefits
  • Top 5 Steps to Healthy Aging
  • Top 5 Exercise Excuses (Plus Solutions)
  • –John Fernandez

    Vitamin Enhanced Drinks: Necessary or Safe?

    Sweet drinks packed with vitamins and minerals have become popular. But new research takes aim at the health value and claims of those drinks.

    “Our findings suggest that consumers stand to reap little or no benefit from the nutrient additions in novel beverages,” according to a Canadian study recently published in  Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, a medical journal. “Product labels promoted performance and emotional benefits related to nutrient formulations that go beyond conventional nutritional science.”

    The study tracked the nutritional value of 46 enhanced water drinks, specialty juices and caffeine-charged energy drinks. Those beverages had a median of 4.5 nutrients added. The most commonly added nutrients were vitamins C, B6, B12 and niacin. Nearly all of the drinks studied were boosted with at least three nutrients that exceeded daily recommended requirements of those nutrients.

    One key issue: Is it safe to consume nutrients at levels that exceeded recommended doses? That question needs further review, researchers say.

    “There is limited data upon which to determine the safety of current levels of exposure,” the report says. “There is a need to scrutinize the labeling and nutrient content of novel beverages more broadly to ensure that consumers are not misled or exposed to unnecessarily high nutrient loads with no potential benefits.

    These stories feature additional information about vitamins and nutrition.

    –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

  •  Sugar Shock: How Sweet Drinks Harm Health
  •  Eat Your Vitamins
  •  A Dangerous Dose of Energy?
  •  Added Sugars Amount to More Heart Risks
  • Sports Alert: Coconut Water for Thirst?
  • NFL: Fewer Concussions

    On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, the NFL released a report stating that the number of reported concussions has declined by double digits, due in part to improved safety and equipment standards.

    For just the regular season the decline is 25 percent year-over-year and by 36 percent over a three-year period, according to ESPN, the New York Times and other news outlets.

    Here are the numbers based on regular season games:

  • 2014 NFL season: 111 concussions
  • 2013 NFL season: 148 concussions
  • 2012 NFL season: 173 concussions
  • When pre-season and practice games are added into the mix, the year-over-year decline of nearly 12 percent for the latest season is smaller, but still significant.

    The declines in reported concussions occurred even as the overall number of injury reports increased, according to NFL officials.

    Here are more stories about concussions:

  • Watch Now: South Miami Grey Ghosts Sign Concussion Pledges
  • Concussions Hit Younger Athletes Harder
  • Student Athletes Learn About Concussion Prevention and Proper Nutrition
  • Football Helmets Offer Little Protection from Concussions
  •                                                                                             –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

    Healthcare that Cares

    With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.