So many of us worker bees spend our weekdays glued to our desk chairs, wondering, perhaps, if tapping at our keyboards counts as exercise. (Sadly, it doesn’t.)
But the prospect of spending a huge chunk of our day working out may seem daunting and frankly, unworkable. A new study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity indicates that, in fact, spending just five minutes getting up and engaging in moderately intense exercise (like a walk) every hour may actually be better for us, in many respects, than a solid 30-minute daily workout before we slide into our cubicles in the morning and start our long sit.
The study, conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, among others, concluded that introducing short periods of activity spread throughout the day would help not only boost workers’ energy levels, but also elevate their moods and lower their sense of fatigue and appetite, calling it “a promising approach to improve overall well-being at work.”
Moving throughout the day can burn calories and elevate levels of an enzyme — lipoprotein lipase – that aids in the conversion of fat to fuel, explains Pete McCall, senior personal training expert at the fitness certification and education non-profit American Council on Exercise. “Sitting for long periods reduces levels of the enzyme and it is easier for fat to be stored rather than used,” he notes.