Want a Snack ?
Surprise: It’s Burpees! (moan)
In all seriousness, I want to introduce the idea of “exercise snacks” to you today.
During the winter months, it’s easy to look at a car covered in snow or a chilly forecast and decide to stay inside on the couch. And sometimes a night with a warm blanket and a good book is exactly what you need. But dramatic reductions in training and general activities can slow progress toward your goals.
That’s where the concept of “exercise snacks” comes in. If you consider workouts or regular physical activities like walking to the bus stop to be “meals,” add some “snacks” throughout the day.
Here’s a short list of “This is snackable stuff”:
- Take three minutes off work to climb the stairs.
- Hop on any fitness equipment that’s available for a few minutes just to get moving twice in the day.
- Take that report to the company exercise room and ride a bike while reading it.
- Do 30 jumping jacks, squats or push-ups—or some combination—during a coffee break.
- Hop on your bike for a trip around the block or remove a bit of snow from the sidewalk.
- Do a lap or two around the office—maybe while carrying a box or water jug.
- Stretch for five to 10 minutes (especially during conference calls without video).
- Whenever you have a free minute, do some of the simple warm-up movements we do before training at the gym.
- Keep an exercise band in your desk and do a little light resistance work: biceps curls, pull-aparts, shoulder presses and so on.
- Review documents while holding a plank or squat, or do a set of sit-ups after every chapter.
- And so on.
Remember: You aren’t working out, and you don’t have to get sweaty or move fast. Intensity isn’t part of the plan. You just have to get moving for a few minutes and increase your heart rate a little.
Coaches already know interval training works wonders in the gym, so consider this “low-intensity interval training” with long rest breaks that might be up to two or three hours.
Think about this: sitting at a desk all day vs. taking two five-minute movement breaks during the day. It’s just common sense: some light movement is better for your body than sitting.
Beyond that, research suggests exercise snacks might be good for maintaining or improving fitness even if the intervals are very short, (or more info on that, click here).
These snacks don’t replace meals. You should still train regularly and engage in longer general activities. But snacks can really make a difference in your day, especially if bad weather is robbing you of some active time outside. And if you’re still active regardless of the temperature, this is just another way to get moving. I run a gym, but I still find myself sitting and typing for too long at times!
With that in mind, I’ll sign off and have my own exercise snack. I’d encourage you to do the same. If you do something, hit comment and let me know what you snacked on. I’d love to know!