Work. Walk 5 Minutes. Work.

Stuck at your work desk? Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs, according to an instructive new study.

The study, which also found that frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work, could provide the basis for a simple, realistic New Year’s exercise resolution for those of us bound to our desks all day.

There is growing evidence, of course, that long bouts of uninterrupted sitting can have undesirable physical and emotional consequences. Studies have shown that sitting motionless reduces blood flow to the legs, increasing the risk for atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in the arteries.

People who sit for more than eight or nine hours daily, which for many of us describes a typical workday, also are at heightened risk for diabetes, depression and obesity compared with people who move more often.

In response, researchers and some bosses have proposed a variety of methods for helping people reduce their sitting time at work, including standing workstations and treadmill desks.

But such options are cumbersome and costly, making them impractical for many work situations.

Some experts have worried, too, that if people are physically active at the office, they might subsequently become more tired, grumpy, distracted or hungry, any of which could have an undesirable effect on work performance and long-term health.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary