Do you spend a lot of time sitting and looking at your computer? Do you also like snacks? If your answer is yes to both, this one is for you; in a recent study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology, scientists have demonstrated that you should have some ‘activity snacks’ to break up long hours of sitting. This doesn’t mean gorging on chips or Twizzlers in between assignments, but instead engaging in short bursts of physical activity.

In the study, scientists established that interrupting prolonged sitting with small exercises can help with your muscle health. The study by Daniel R. Moore — an associate professor of muscle physiology — and his colleagues observed in a small sample of participants that interrupting long hours of sitting with ‘activity snacks,’ such as bodyweight squats or walking, can help keep skeletal muscles healthy.

The researchers studied the dietary amino acid utilization of 12 adults during prolonged sitting as well as when periods of sitting were broken up with squats and walking. With the incorporation of activity snacks, dietary amino acid utilization increased. More amino acids means that there will be higher skeletal muscle protein synthesis — hence, muscle growth.

So, the next time you write a paper, watch a video, or do anything that requires you to sit for a long time, listen to the science and be sure to have some activity snacks for healthier muscles!