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  • Emily

What is Exercise Snacking?

We all know that too much unhealthy snacking can be bad for us. But what if we could bring the principles of food snacking to our exercise routine?

We can! It's called exercise snacking!

Imagine it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon and you're feeling a little hungry. So, you head into the kitchen and grab a bag of pita chips and some hummus. It only takes you about 5 minutes to eat and then you're back to whatever task you were working on.

Now imagine that it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon and you're feeling a little tired and bored. You have a lot of work left to do and will never have enough time to work out when you get home. So, you jog up and down the stairs 3 times and get back to whatever you were working on. It only took 5 minutes from your day and you're feeling energized and refocused.

The idea behind exercise snacking is that short bursts of exercise can benefit our health when we don't have time for more traditional, long-form exercise. Moreover, for those that don't enjoy exercise breaking it up into smaller "snacks" seems more fun.

Just like food snacks, they can't replace an entire exercise "meal", but studies have shown that exercise snacking can improve insulin metabolism, boost energy and productivity, and moderately increase fitness levels.

Exercise snacks may vary from low intensity to high intensity. When you get up from your chair to walk around or stretch - that's an exercise snack! Five minutes of stationary bike, marching in place, or jogging is also an exercise snack.

Most exercise snacking does not require equipment which makes it even more convenient. You can get an exercise snack at home, at work, or outside.

Here's another trick to exercise snacking - you can do it while you're doing something else. For example, you could do a few calf raises while brushing your teeth in the morning and evening. Or you could do some squats and arm circles while you wait for your coffee to brew.

Here are a few basic exercise snacks ideas for beginners:

  • Countertop pushups

  • Chair squats

  • Marching in place

  • Jumping jacks

  • Couch tricep dips

  • Lunges

A more advanced version of exercise snacking might include sprinting, jumping rope, or using a stationary bike for speed intervals. High intensity exercise snacking is beneficial for metabolism and cardiovascular conditioning.

Even with advanced movements a 2-5 minute exercise snack is a great place to start. So even if you can't find a lot of time in your day for exercise, you can certainly find 2-5 minutes!

If you are the kind of person that does not like exercise or has a hard time finding time for exercise, join the exercise snack revolution!

For more exercise, fitness, and health advice, subscribe to my blog. And if you haven't already registered, sign up for Wellness Talk Wednesday!

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