From The Straits Times    |

Image: Showbit

It’s no secret that Singaporeans work long hours and, yes, the crazy demands from employers are partly to blame. Sometimes it feels like the workload just doesn’t ever end. A bit like Groundhog Day, or The NeverEnding Story. Blurgh.

But of course, there’s also the fact that in between our daily nine-to-six (and sometimes seven or eight), we spend quite some time catching up on our WhatsApp conversations, scrolling through our Facebook and Instagram feeds and, you know, just getting randomly distracted.

The good news is, thanks to researchers, you now have a very legitimate reason to feed into your wandering mind. Well, sort of.

It turns out that giving into that urge to get up and leave (for just five minutes) could actually help you stay on track. Disclosure: it’s a completely different story if you truly hate your job but we’ve got your back on this one too.


According to the study published by the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, taking frequent five-minute walks throughout the day helps lift your moods and fight lethargy without affecting your focus levels, meaning you’ll be primed and ready to handle that pesky report.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? After all, why (repeatedly) walk away from the problem that needs fixing?


Well the study found that when people “disrupted” their workday with sporadic walks, their energy levels were not only higher than if they’d been stuck in their office chairs but that they were also a lot happier; even happier than if they’d taken less frequent and longer walks.

This is most definitely good news for the region’s busiest and saddest workers. We don’t need reminding, but in case you forgot, Singaporeans ranked the unhappiest in Asia and here’s why.

That’s not all, though! On top of being a simple mood lift, the study also found that those frequent breaks curbed cravings. Yep, that five minute walk is the one thing that can stand between you and the pack of chips lying in your snack drawer.


Now you might be hesitant because, well, where would you go for five minutes? But that’s where the beauty lies. You don’t need a destination nor do you have to even walk out of your building if you’re not quite feeling up for braving the sun.

You can pace your cubicle, walk the corridor or – brace yourselves – take the stairs. Feel free to rope your colleagues in on this, but just make sure you’re getting off your seat every hour (or two if it’s a particularly busy day) and wandering around for five minutes throughout the day – and no, that trip to the bathroom doesn’t count.

So the next time you’re feeling an indescribable urge to look through your Facebook feed, stop scrolling, leave that undrafted email for later and get moving! Hopefully we’ll see you on the earlier MRT home.