This boosts your energy and mood immediately. Plus, it’s free!

Jessica Ball, M.S., R.D.
March 07, 2021
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Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where assistant nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

With each day spent living and working from home, it can be hard to consistently feel motivated and energized. And it seems like no matter how much I sleep, I still get groggy around 2 P.M.! This mid-afternoon crash can really cut into my productivity but thankfully I have a quick fix for boosting my energy (for free nonetheless)—I take a walk.

One thing I used to love about the office was that a group of my colleagues would go for a walk together after lunch. No matter how fatigued I felt at the start, that quick 30-minute loop left me feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. At first, I brought this habit home to get out of the house in the early days of quarantine. Now, it is a staple of my day that I need to wake up when that midday energy crash strikes. Here's exactly why it works wonders:

Walking is not only good for your physical health—it helps balance blood sugars, boosts heart health and can even help you lose some weight—but getting outside can also provide mental and emotional health benefits, as well. And if you work a desk job, like me, walking can even undo some of the negative effects of sitting all day.

Walking is also super convenient and free. You don't need any special equipment or supplements, simply lace 'em up and get out the door. Walking is super accessible to most any budget, body and schedule. A walk break can take five minutes, 30 minutes or really however much time you have. 

Young woman going for a walk in the park
Credit: Getty Images / pixdeluxe

A walk is a great time to call a friend to catch up, to take a walking meeting or a great excuse to unplug and take a break from screens altogether. The two requirements for a successful walk are simple: comfortable, supportive shoes and a safe route. Maybe you take a few laps around your neighborhood or around town if there are sidewalks. If you have a little more time, try exploring a local nature trail.

Lastly, block off time in your calendar and schedule in your walks. It will be a nice reminder for you as well as be transparent to your team that you won't be available during that time. 

Afternoon slumps catch up with anyone, especially these days. For an immediate mood and energy boost, take a walk. It's easy, free and can be adjusted to fit into any schedule. The next time the midday-scaries come on, slip on your shoes and get outside for a stroll—you'll be shocked at the difference it makes in your energy, mood and productivity.