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The Power Of Exercise Snacks: A Quick Fix For A Healthier You!

By Gavin Buehler


Looking for more motivation to exercise in the New Year?  Exercise Snacks could be a useful tool to get or keep you on track.  We’re now into the Holiday Season and I bet you’re thinking, “What kind of tasty delights are going to be suggested here?”  Bubble burst!  Exercise is the “snack,” and these snacks are going to help you deal with all those other snacks you’ll be indulging on this season.  These short bursts of vigorous physical activity throughout the day offer a convenient and effective way to enhance overall well-being without requiring a significant time commitment.


What are Exercise Snacks?

Exercise Snacks are brief, focused bouts of vigorous physical activity lasting anywhere between 1-10 minutes that can be seamlessly incorporated into daily routines.  Unlike traditional workouts that demand a dedicated time slot, these short bursts of exercise are designed to be quick, efficient, and easily achievable.  The idea is to accumulate small increments of movement throughout the day, providing numerous health benefits without the need for a gym membership or elaborate equipment.

 

What do I need to do?

You need to get your heart rate up to a minimum level of 70% of your heart rate max, of course getting within the range of 90-95% being optimal of such short durations.  You don’t need super accurate measurements here.  Just get working to a level where you’d only be willing to speak a few words if someone were talking to you.  That would be your minimum exertion level needed.

 

Why does it need to be that intense?

That level of intensity is needed to trigger the mechanisms in your body that unleash the cascade of health benefits (see below) you’re trying to reap.  Since duration is so short, effort needs to be maximal for these mechanisms to be stimulated.  For a deep dive into this topic, I highly recommend listening to this podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick that will undoubtedly have you sold on high intensity exercise by the end.

 

How can I do that?

Pick a basic form of physical activity and set your timer for anywhere between 1-10 minutes.  Reputable sources such as the Clevland Clinic suggest 2-minute bouts to be effective.  Exercise examples that you could use include:


·        Jumping Jacks

·        High Knees

·        Climbing Stairs

·        Burpees

·        Air Squats

·        Lunges

·        Push-ups

·        Sprinting

·        Skipping

·        Mountain Climbers

 

When should I do this?

Anytime you have a few minutes to spare.  But research does suggest times that might be more beneficial depending on goals.  One of those suggested times being directly before and or after meals.  This is due to intense exercise activating mechanisms such as GLUT4 transporters that provide rapid glucose uptake into muscles helping to control blood sugar levels and reducing strain on the pancreas.


Another optimal time would be to break up extended sedentary activities as these have been shown increase the risks of certain mortality diseases such as some cancers and heart disease.

 

How often throughout the day should this be done?

Anything is better than nothing.  So even performing one 1-minute bout is going to stimulate some health benefits but, accumulating the recommended dosage over the course of a day would be optimal.  The American Heart Associating recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.  Since Exercise Snacks are vigorous, that amounts to accumulating roughly 11 minutes per day.

 

What are some benefits of doing this?

There are honestly too many to list here and extrapolating the details of how and why would fill textbooks so here are just a few broad reasons to incorporate Exercise Snacks into your routine:

 

1.      Improved Metabolism: Engaging in short bursts of physical activity can rev up your metabolism which can help with better blood sugar and weight management to name a couple of big ones.

2.      Enhanced Mood and Energy Levels: Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters such as dopamine that help elevate mood and drive.  Exercise Snacks can help combat feelings of fatigue and stress, leaving you with a more positive mindset and increased energy levels.

3.      Better Cardiovascular Health: Breaking up sedentary behavior with short bouts of exercise has been linked to improved cardiovascular health.  Exercise that elevates the heart rate for even a few minutes can contribute to better circulation and heart function.

4.      Increased Productivity: Taking short breaks for Exercise Snacks has been shown to enhance cognitive function and productivity. These brief activity bursts can serve as a mental reset, improving focus and concentration.

5.      Accessibility and Inclusivity: One of the major advantages of Exercise Snacks is their accessibility. You don't need a gym or special equipment – simple activities.

 

In a world that often demands our time and attention, Exercise Snacks offer a practical solution to staying active and healthy.  By embracing these short bursts of physical activity, individuals can experience a myriad of benefits, from improved mood and energy levels to enhanced cardiovascular health.  The key lies in consistency and finding creative ways to infuse movement into the fabric of our daily lives.  So, the next time you find yourself with a few free minutes, consider investing in your health with a quick Exercise Snack – your body and mind will thank you.

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