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  • Writer's picturePhilippa Evans

Are you getting enough ‘exercise snacks’?

If, like me, you’ve been enjoying one or two (or maybe a lot!) more snacks over the last few weeks, you might be focusing on getting back into your usual routine and eating more healthy foods that give you a nutrient and energy boost.

But here’s another snack that’s good for us – exercise snacks. And I’m not talking about the calories burned from reaching for another handful of chocolate coated raisins… but a short burst of activity that can bring similar benefits to longer, more sustained workouts. They can be good for your cardio-vascular system, for muscular strength, balance and for boosting your metabolism.

The key is to make these activities vigorous, which will be different for different people, but it should be vigorous for you. This means the activity increases your heart and breathing rate and is sustained from around 1-2 minutes to up to 15 minutes. Recent studies (such as this study by Gibala) show that several brief bursts of activity spread throughout the day can increase cardiorespiratory fitness.

Some exercise snack ideas:

· Include short bursts of speed when walking

· 60 seconds of squats or star jumps with a rest then repeated two or three times

· Vigorous household chores such as hoovering, sweeping or scrubbing

· Taking the stairs

· Jogging on the spot

· Two or three sets of light weights exercises using hand weights or filled water bottles

It’s easier to fit these exercise snacks into your day rather than organising your day around a longer bout of exercise, and need little or no equipment. They can increase productivity, concentration and creativity and can be a welcome break if you sit for long periods of time.

The trick to making these work for you might be to plan these into activities you already do, so that they become a habit. Perhaps fit in an exercise snack before every meal, or whilst the kettle is boiling if you’re a regular tea or coffee drinker. Or always taking the stairs when you have the opportunity, or walking and talking when you’re on the phone to a friend.

This increased activity is fantastic for your overall health, and these short bursts of exercise might seem much more appealing in the cold and dark winter months when the weather might not be quite so inspiring to get outdoors. Why not give it a try for a few days and see how you feel? You might find these bite-sized bursts of activity are a step towards feeling great!

If you feel you would benefit from some extra support in making healthy food and activity choices and building healthier habits, get in touch here. I provide personalised nutrition and lifestyle analysis and recommendations, and the support you need to take control of your health.

Make 2022 your healthiest year yet!

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