Scientists say that workers should take a five minute break to walk around every hour at work. While its well known that sitting behind a desk for hours on end is not good for health, boffins say just five minute bursts of activity could counteract some of the ill effects.
In new research, scientists discovered that taking short, but repeated breaks from work to stand up and walk around had benefits for both mood and energy levels.
Described them as “microbouts” of activity, the scientists said the benefits could last all day, and that short walks could even stop you from getting food cravings while working.
Study authors pointed out that people who work in offices were vulnerable to health risks because of sitting down for long periods of time.
In their research, published in the respected International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, they say being so inactive all day leads to an increased risk of diabetes, depression and becoming obese.
The team investigated three different movement patterns in 30 adults. One group sat for six hours straight, only getting up to use the toilet. A second group began the day with half an hour of activity, while a third group had five minutes of walking activity every hour.
Scientists looked at stress levels, mood, energy, fatigue and appetite throughout the day, finding that those who took part in the mini activity sessions had more beneficial effects that others.
They said that the microbouts led to sustained benefits throughout the whole day, while half an hour of exercise did not have lasting effects. However, neither form of activity was found to have any impact on cognitive function.
Study author Jack Groppel, who is co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, said the findings showed that even doing a little bit of activity spread throughout the day, was a practical and easy way to improve well being.