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Taking 5-minute “micro” walks throughout the day gets better results than one 30-minute workout

Step outside for 5 minutes or walk around your home for 5 minutes once an hour to get much-needed activity/ Photo by cottonbro studio via Pexels
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The “micro” activity method could be a game changer to your workday, health and mood

If your workday is largely spent sat a desk, then you could take a promising approach to improve your overall well-being with minimal effort. It’s the hourly 5-minute walkabout method or what could be known as the “micro” workday activity method.

“In addition to the beneficial impact of physical activity on levels of energy and vigour, spreading out physical activity throughout the day improved mood, decreased feelings of fatigue and affected appetite,” a study has found.

The study used three methods to measure the after-effects of different levels and frequencies of activity.

  • SITUninterrupted sitting: Subjects remained seated all day except to rise from the chair to void.
  • ONESitting + one bout of activity: Subjects remained seated all day, except to rise from the chair to void, and to perform one bout of 30-min moderate-intensity walking. Physical activity was performed at 0800, after measures of vitals and basal questionnaire assessments, but before breakfast.
  • MICROSitting + microbursts of activity: Subjects rose from the seated position every hour for 6-h from 0910 to 1430 to complete 5-min bouts of moderate-intensity walking, yielding a total activity time of 30-min.

When sitting, participants were allowed to read, use a computer and watch TV. For conditions ONE and MICRO, walking bouts took place on a motorised treadmill.

The researchers concluded that introducing exercise microbursts across the day can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels and mood while maintaining usual cognitive performance.

The report said, “contrary to effects following a single continuous bout of activity, the effects of microbursts of activity were sustained throughout the day.”

Based on these findings, the researchers said that occupational health initiatives “may want to introduce physically active breaks during the workday routine, as they are likely to increase workers’ well-being and energy, without detrimentally impacting worker performance.”

If you want to give the micro activity method a try when working from home, you can mix things up in those essential 5-minute breaks. It could be a walk around the house; up and down the stairs; a walk to the end of your block or a gentle 5-minute workout in your kitchen when your kettle or cappuccino maker is heating up.

If you are an office-based worker, then consider different walkabouts or gentle exercises you could do around the office, the office stairwell or in the staff kitchen. When you can, take a walk on your lunch break, too.

We’ve shared a 5-minute workout that does not include jumping, but there are others to choose from.

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