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The Effects of Relaxation Exercises and Park Walks During Workplace Lunch Breaks on Physiological Recovery
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2017 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, E-ISSN 2002-2867, Vol. 2, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Considering the increasing demands of various occupational interventions, this study aimed at examining the impact of relaxation exercises and park walks during lunch breaks on physiological recovery (i.e., on changes in cortisol excretion and blood pressure). In a four-week randomized controlled trial, 153 knowledge workers in seven companies were allocated to one of three groups: relaxation, park walk, or control. Both intervention groups were required to undertake either a lunchtime relaxation exercise or a park walk on each working day for two consecutive weeks. Data were collected at baseline, during the two-week intervention period, and in the week after the intervention. Mixed-design analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted. No beneficial intervention effects were observed in cortisol awakening response (CARi) or cortisol decline during the day (CDD). Blood pressure decreased significantly in the afternoon at work in each group. This decrease was more pronounced in the park walk group (d = .51–.58) than in the relaxation (d = .18–.28) and control (d = .31–.41) groups. Our study showed that changing knowledge workers’ lunch routines for a short period of time does not affect cortisol excretion, but may lower blood pressure at the end of the working day. This lowered blood pressure also seemed to occur among the controls, suggesting that measuring and keeping track of blood pressure may serve as an intervention. However, longer interventions are needed to achieve stronger and long lasting physiological recovery effects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 2, no 1
Keyword [en]
blood pressure, cortisol, lunch break, park walk, recovery, relaxation exercise
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143791DOI: 10.16993/sjwop.19OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143791DiVA: diva2:1104188
Note

This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (grant no. 257682).

Available from: 2017-05-31 Created: 2017-05-31 Last updated: 2017-11-06

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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