Sorry to disappoint, but when we say ‘exercise snacks’ we’re not talking about actual, edible snacks for exercising (or any other energy-boosting foods). We’re talking about short, 60-second bursts of exercise – two minutes, if you’re really feeling up to it.
You’ve probably heard that you should be doing thirty minutes of exercise a day – and that’s still true – but these exercise snacks are also beneficial, not to mention easier to slot into your day.
Speaking to the Brisbane Times, Professor David Dunstan, head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, said that bursts of movements as brief as one of two minutes can benefit heart health and have positive effects on blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.
Studies have found that people who climb stairs as their exercise “snacks”, improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Those who climbed stairs three times a day for six weeks saw their maximal oxygen uptake had improved by 5%. Another improvement? Femoral artery blood flow – essentially, you’re getting better blood flow in your thighs.
Here’s how to incorporate exercise ‘snacks’ into your day.
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, you most likely have a staircase within walking distance. Once an hour (set an alarm), find those stairs and climb them for a minute, and then walk back to your chair.
Walk around the block
If you live in a one-storey place with no stairs to speak of, then go for a walk around the block – the fresh air is another great benefit. Just remember to take your mask if you live in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
Use your chair
An exercise snack can be as easy as standing up off your chair, and sitting down again. Then standing up, then sitting down again. You get the gist. Do this for a minute straight (without using your hands to push you off). If you’ve got a sturdy chair – without wheels! – you can also do chair step-ups.
Challenge your team
Whether it’s a squat challenge or plank challenge, get everyone’s competitive side going by challenging them to a one-minute exercise challenge a few times a day. The winner gets boasting rights, and possibly an actual snack if anyone’s generous enough…