The bottom line is, physical activity can’t completely make up for the negative effects of sitting for more than eight hours a day. And even if you don’t meet the recommended workout criteria, simply reducing sitting time can make a big difference in your mental health.
Azevedo adds that physical activity doesn’t always have to look like a HIIT workout or going for a run. “Just going for a walk, especially in green areas is really important. Any type of moderate activity does have benefits,” she says, adding their study found even leisure activities and gardening can help both physically and mentally.
If you find yourself sitting for a lot of the day, and it’s taking a toll on your mental health, the good news is getting up and moving can go a long way. Whether you break from your desk for a mid-day walk, invest in a standing desk, or set a timer to get up and stretch throughout the day, your physical and mental health will both benefit.