Why is it more important to engage in many small physical activities?
Getting up from the dining table in time is an easy little task that can produce great results.
The same is the case if we get up from behind our office desks, or from the couch or car seat, and engage in various types of physical activities (big and small) during the day.
A study conducted by scientists at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre University of Queensland shows that many short breaks involving physical activities makes it easier to control one’s weight and improve one’s health.
The study includes 168 men and women, and the scientists conclude that the more often the participants take a break from their sedentary behavior, the better their readings for glucose tolerance, BMI, and blood lipids (cholesterol and triglyceride). It even has a positive effect on their waistline. The breaks they took in the study were shorter than five minutes and involved low-intensity activities (e.g. standing or moving from one place to another)
It may seem surprising that these short but frequent breaks can have such a great impact on weight and waistline, considering how few calories they burn. Nonetheless, a possible explanation could be the physical and mental relief from stress that such breaks provide.
Suggestions for small, daily physical activities – both passive and active
Sits while phoning ◊ Stands up/walks about while phoning
Calls to order pizza ◊ Fixes a quick snack
Uses the service of a cleaning help ◊ Quickly cleans a mirror, vacuums a room etc.
Uses a dishwasher ◊ Washes dishes by hand
Sits in front of the TV or behind a computer ◊ Gets up every hour and walks a little. Uses a height adjustable table for work.
Plays games on the smartphone ◊ Dances to music
Lets the dog out into the garden ◊ Goes for a quick walk with the dog
Uses the elevator ◊ Uses the stairs
Emails a colleague ◊ Walks over to speak with a colleague
Drinks water from a bottle at the job ◊ Walks to the water tap or water dispenser
Spends break reading the newspaper ◊ Goes for a walk or does something else