Taking a break from long hours of continuous sitting, walking on the phone while talking or standing while making food — as simple as they seem, a study argues that these light physical activities can also improve one’s mental health.
Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study pointed out a link between light physical exercises and lower stress, better mood and lower body mass index (BMI).
“People may not even think about some of these activities as physical activity. Light activity is much lower intensity than going to the gym or walking to work, but taking these steps to break up long periods of sitting may have an impact,” said lead author and assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, Jacob Meyer.
For the study, participants between the ages 21 and 35 wore an armband that tracked their energy expenditure. The data allowed researchers to objectively measure sleep, physical activity and sedentary time. They found that moderate to vigorous activity was associated with lower body fat and BMI.
“It may be easier for people to change their behaviour if they feel it’s doable and doesn’t require a major change. Replacing sedentary time with housework or other light activities is something they may be able to do more consistently than going for an hour-long run.” Meyer added.
Going to bed at the right time, for instance, is a relatively simpler lifestyle change to adopt. Going to bed earlier and getting up at a consistent time provides multiple benefits and allows your body to recover, Meyer said. Sleeping is also unique in that it is time you’re not engaging in other potentially problematic behaviours, such as eating junk food while sitting in front of a screen.
(With inputs from ANI)
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