Ditch the coffee, try stair walking to feel more energised during the working day

CoffeeA new study has shown that taking just 10-minutes to walk up and down stairs may be more effective than caffeine for increasing energy and motivation. Another great reason to get away from your desk and get active during the working day!

Many of us drink coffee, tea or caffeinated energy drinks to keep awake and energised whilst at work. We’re not preaching to stop drinking you’re favourite drinks, but next time you feel the need for a caffeine hit, maybe try the active option instead.

Researchers from the University of Georgia found that sleep-deprived adults who walked up and down stairs at a regular pace for 10 minutes felt more energised and motivated than those who consumed 50mg of caffeine  (roughly a can of diet coke).

The study was recently published in the journal Physiology and Behavior. Study co-author Patrick J. O’Connor, of the Department of Kinesiology at Georgia said;

“Office workers can go outside and walk, but weather can be less than ideal…And a lot of people working in office buildings have access to stairs, so it’s an option to keep some fitness while taking a short break from work.” 

The research involved female college students who reported having chronic sleep deprivation (less than 6.5 hours of sleep each night).  Participants were required to complete tests that assessed their working memory, attention, reaction time, work motivation, and mood states under two separate conditions.

Subjects completed the tests after taking a capsule containing either 50 milligrams of caffeine or a placebo. In the other condition, tests were completed after the participants had walked up and down 30 floors of stairs at a regular pace for around 10 minutes.

The team found that under the stair-walking condition, participants reported greater motivation to work and an increase in energy, compared with those under the caffeine condition.

Next time you feel the need for a coffee to boost your energy... try heading to the office stairwell instead!“We found, in both the caffeine and the placebo conditions, that there was not much change in how they felt, but with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous. It was a temporary feeling, felt immediately after the exercise, but with the 50 milligrams of caffeine, we didn’t get as big an effect.” said O’Conner.

O’Connor added that there is still much research to be done, but even a brief bout of stair walking can enhance feelings of energy without reducing cognitive function which is more beneficial than a dose of caffeine when it comes to energy and motivation in the workplace.

So next time you feel the need for that third coffee of the day, try taking some time away from your desk and hit the office stairwell!