Great news for midday nappers and walkers, with a new study finding that replacing time spent sitting with sleep or light activity may help to improve your mood. As sitting for long periods of time becomes more normal for people nowadays, sleep and light exercise may be the answer towards cultivating a healthier lifestyle.
The benefits of substituting sitting with sleeping or light exercise included lower stress, better moods and a lower body mass index.
Getting more sleep can be as simple as going to bed earlier and getting up at the same time each day, allowing your body to rest and recover.
According to the study, light exercise can be as easy as walking around your home while you’re on the phone or standing while you’re cooking.
Jacob Meyer, lead author of the study and assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University said that, “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.”
If people feel that the activities are achievable then they may be more willing to change their behaviour. “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 said.
Jacob D. Meyer, Laura D. Ellingson, Matthew P. Buman, Robin P. Shook, Gregory A. Hand, Steven N. Blair. Current and 1-Year Psychological and Physical Effects of Replacing Sedentary Time With Time in Other Behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.02.018