Better Mood Now
Nowadays, most of us are spending more time at home than ever. For the past two and a half months, we have been challenged to fit every aspect of our lives into the small confines of our house. As a result, we are not moving much and we are sitting down most of the time. However, there are simple ways to improve our physical and mental health even if we are not able to take long walks outside and hang out with friends.
Assistant Professor Jacob Meyer from Iowa State University and colleagues recently published a study investigating the physical and psychological effects of replacing sedentary time with other behaviors. For the study, the researchers used data from the Energy Balance Study at the University of South Carolina. The research team analyzed data from more than 400 healthy young adults, ranging in age from 20 to 35. The subjects wore armbands to track their energy expenditure for 10 days. They were instructed to wear the armbands at all times except for bathing and/or swimming. The subjects, however, still had to keep a log for the times they spent without the armband.
The study findings revealed that replacing time spent sitting with sleep improved subjects’ moods and lowered their stress levels. The researchers also found that substituting sedentary time with light physical activity was associated with lower BMI across the year.
These findings suggest that sweating it out at the gym is not necessary to improve our mental and physical health. Positive results can be achieved through swapping screen time for sleep or replacing sitting with household chores like doing the laundry or cooking.
According to Assistant Professor Jacob Meyer, “It may be easier for people to change their behavior if they feel it’s doable and doesn’t require a major change. 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.”
Incorporating more sleep or light physical activity into your life is important for not only your physical health but also mental health. Previous studies have shown that sedentary behavior is associated with cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of depression. However, evidence suggests that breaking up sedentary time is beneficial for the heart. To avoid sitting for long periods, frequently engage in activities that require some form of movement.
It is important to bring awareness to how we manage time every day to make better choices for our health.
Make every little choice count.
- 1. https://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2020/05/19/sitting
- 2. Meyer, J. D., Ellingson, L. D., Buman, M. P., Shook, R. P, Hand, G. A., & Blair, S. N. (2020). Current and 1-year psychological and physical effects of replacing sedentary time with time in other behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.02.018
- 3. Dunstan, D. W., Thorp, A. A., & Healy, G. N. (2011). Prolonged sitting: Is it a distinct coronary heart disease risk factor? Current Opinion in Cardiology, 26, 412-219. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e3283496605
- 4. Teychenne, M., Ball, K., & Salmon, J. (2010). Sedentary behavior and depression among adults: A review. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine,17, 246-254. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-010-9075-z