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Snacking on exercise
Anastasia avatar
Written by Anastasia
Updated over a week ago

Short read

  • It’s challenging to find time to be active, but there are ways to fit it into busy lifestyles

  • Recent research challenges the notion that physical activity must be done in long stretches, showing that shorter bursts of high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) can be just as beneficial for our health

  • HIIE has been found to aid in fat loss, increasing strength, and blood sugar control

  • ‘Exercise snacking’ is a strategy of breaking down daily activity into quick bursts of movement throughout the day

  • You can start by aiming for 4 minutes of exercise snacking per day, breaking it down into 1-minute bursts at different times

  • Various activities can be used for exercise snacking, such as stair climbing, squats, wall push-ups, calf raises, playing with kids, star jumps, leg raises, step-ups, cleaning to music, and u

  • sing household items as weights

  • Something to reflect on today: The brain learns through association, and a way to form a new habit is to ‘stack’ a new habit onto an existing one. What activity could you ‘stack’ on top of an existing habit you do?

How often have you said, ‘I don’t have time for exercise’? Although many people will argue it’s an issue of prioritisation, there are also ways to fit activity around our busy lifestyles.

The general consensus is that to benefit from physical activity, it needs to be performed in long stretches. The consequence is that if we don’t have time for a longer workout, we often don’t exercise at all.

However, recent research has proven this theory wrong. Studies have shown that high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) can be as beneficial to our health as more prolonged activity sessions, especially in relation to fat loss, muscle building, and blood sugar control.

This week, we’d encourage you to add one new movement to your routine or expand on an existing activity. Another way to build up your fitness and add more spontaneous movement is through a strategy called ‘exercise snacking’.

This means breaking down your daily activity into bite-sized portions and doing quick, regular bursts of movement.

How to snack on exercise

The best way to apply exercise snacking is to aim for 4 minutes daily. You can then break this down into 1-minute bursts.

For example, you might do 1 minute when you wake up, 1 minute when you have lunch, 1 minute when you get home after work, and 1 minute before bed.

Try to pick a movement that raises your heart rate or strengthens your muscles.

Some examples of exercise snacking:

  • Go up and down the stairs at work during your lunch break

  • Do squats while brushing your teeth

  • Try wall push-ups while waiting for the kettle to boil

  • Do calf raises while filling your car with petrol

  • Join your kids on the playground

  • Do star jumps during an ad break on TV

  • Try leg raises in your chair at work

  • Do step-ups when you’re talking on the phone

  • Put some music on while vacuuming and clean to the beat

  • Do bicep curls with tinned tomatoes when cooking dinner

  • Jog on the spot while waiting for the bus to arrive

Written by Robbie Puddick

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