5 Minutes to Happiness

BusinesswomanonwaytoworkyoungexecutivesuccessfulhappysmilewalkingcityBefore you read this, stop what you’re doing, stand up, and go for a short 5-minute walk. You’ll be glad you did, and after you read this article, you’ll understand why.

So, you’re back. How was the walk? Invigorating, right? Well, that’s what researchers here at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center found in a recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Specifically the study found five short walks throughout the day made study participants feel less hungry, more energized and happier at the end of the day than if those people didn’t walk at all during the day or even if they took one long walk at the beginning of the day. This also supports previously reported findings that sitting at a desk all day is bad for your health.

CU Professor Audrey Bergouignan, lead author of the study, told the Denver Post in a January 19 article “We were able to say it’s not only on health. It’s also on more psychological aspects”.

And, while study participants took “moderate intensity” walks, Bergouignan says the pace of a walk would likely not alter the health benefits.

She told the Denver Post, “I don’t think in this case it has to do with intensity. I think it has to do with breaking up your attention to do something else.”

The study was funded largely by Johnson & Johnson and the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), which is housed inside the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.



Bergouignan is now working on a follow-up study that will analyze the outcomes when “real world” demands at work make a regular one-walk-an-hour schedule difficult. If you are interested in participating in the follow-up study, you can email Bergouignan at eats.study@ucdenver.edu.


This study was also reported on in The NY Times, LiveScience, Yahoo Sports and FoxNews Health.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center