Spending hours a day sitting at a desk is known to have consequences for your health but, scientists now say just five-minute walking stints could counteract some of the risks.
In a new study, researchers found that taking brief, repeated breaks from work to stand up and move around has sustained benefits for your mood and energy levels.
The effects of these microbouts of activity were found to last all day, and could even help to alleviate food cravings while you're at work.
"Office workers have been identified as one of the most vulnerable occupational groups for accumulating prolonged and uninterrupted sitting time", the authors explained in the study, published to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
And, this sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of diabetes, depression, and obesity, among other health concerns.
To find out how different methods of activity effected workers, the team, including researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center and the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, investigated three movement conditions across 30 adults.
Participants were first given a number of tests to assess their health, along with self-perceived energy, mood, and appetite.
In one trial, the participants sat for 6 hours straight, getting up only to use the bathroom, according to the New York Times.
In another, they started the day with 30 minutes of moderate walking on a treadmill.
The third experiment called for six 5-minute microbouts of moderate intensity walking every hour.
The researchers monitored their stress hormone levels, and had participants rate their moods, energy, fatigue, and appetites throughout the day.
These experiments revealed a number of benefits linked to the 5-minute activity sessions.
The researchers also found that the effects of the microbouts surpassed those associated with an early workout, as the benefits of that type of activity wore off after some time.
Participants showed an increase in energy and vigor levels, along with "improved mood, decreased feelings of fatigue, and affected appetite", the authors noted.
"Overall, microbouts of activity led to sustained effects along the day, while the effects of a single bout of activity performed early in the morning did not last throughout the day", they explain.
Neither regimen was found to effect cognitive function, for better or worse.
But, the results suggest that, "even a little bit of activity, spread throughout the day, is a practical, easy way to improve well-being", study author Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, told the New York Times.
Though the study had its limitations, Dr. Groppel says "it's clear that moving matters".