We all know that food snacking is fun, but it does, of course, come with a downside of weight gain. Exercise snacking can also be fun, and it, of course, comes with numerous health benefits.
If you read this and think, I can’t exercise because of my bad back, think again. And if you are undergoing medical treatment for cancer and not sure whether you should exercise, read my post about exercising while being treated for cancer.
What the Stats Say
According to startling statistics from the UK National Health Service (NHS), exercise comes with a multitude of benefits. These include lower risk of:
- coronary heart disease and stroke
- type 2 diabetes
- colon and breast cancer
- early death
- osteoarthritis, falls, and hip fracture
Do you want any of these proven exercise benefits? Of course, you do. Maybe you want all of them. But maybe you hate exercise.
Not an Exercise Junkie?
Are you one of those people who resolve to exercise, but somehow it never happens? Are you intimidated by the idea of going to the gym or starting to run? Or do you feel you need to get fit before you start publicly exercising?
The answer is to take up exercise snacking. Exercise snacking, as its name suggests, involves doing exercises through the day in short bursts.
Snack on Exercise
Here are some suggestions of things you could do. It’s best if you can attach them to some other activity that you always do during the day. That way you are much more likely to remember to do them.
Balance on One Leg
Stand on one leg while you brush your teeth in the morning. In the evening, stand on the other leg. You do clean your teeth twice a day, don’t you?
Do air squats while talking on the phone. Air squats are also known as body weight squats. Here’s how to do them:
- Keep your feet pointed straight ahead, shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back straight, don’t round your shoulders.
- Keep your eyes on something ahead of you and your chest lifted.
- Push your butt back and bend your knees.
- Your knee shouldn’t be further forward than your toes.
- Concentrate on “sitting” between your legs to minimise leaning forward.
- Go as low as you can, while keeping your whole feet on the floor.
Climb the Staircase
Run up and down the stairs for 4 minutes twice a day. Attach this to a meal, (preferably before the meal!), to help you remember to do it.
Bend to Touch Your Toes
Touch your toes (or as near as you can get), while emptying your dishwasher. Here’s how you can go about that:
- Touch your toes three times.
- Take out a set of plates and put them away.
- Touch your toes three times.
- Take out more crockery or cutlery.
- Repeat until the dishwasher is empty.
Lift Your Shopping Bags
Bring in your shopping and then use the weight of your shopping bag to do a suitcase carry: You simply carry the shopping bag in one hand and walk around with it.
Engage your core (your abdominal muscles). Keep your shoulders level and facing forward. If you have to lean over to one side to carry the shopping, the bag is too heavy. Put some of the items away and carry a lighter weight. You will improve and eventually amaze yourself at the weights you can lift.
Touch the Clock
Want something more difficult? Do “round the clock” while the kettle boils. There are various ways of doing this, but this is the way I do it:
- I brace my core and stand on one leg, imagining that I’m standing inside a clock face that is on the ground.
- I touch the other foot lightly on the 12 o’clock position in front of me.
- Then I touch 3 o’clock to the right of me.
- Then I touch behind me to the 6 o’clock position.
- And finally, I bring the leg round to the front and over to the left side and touch the 9 o’clock position. (Sometimes I touch the 9 o’clock position from behind and then from the front!)
Then I repeat with the other foot. I try to make sure that the moving foot touches as lightly as possible, without any weight. If you find this difficult at first, let your foot rest more heavily at each clock position. Here’s an example, from my Instagram account, of me doing this exercise.
These are a few ideas for exercise snacking, but I’m sure you can think of more for yourself now that you are familiar with the idea.
Go back to the beginning of this blog and read about all those amazing benefits of exercise. Perhaps you could copy and print them and post them somewhere you can see them to remind yourself why exercise is so important.
Let’s Have a Conversation:
How often do you exercise? Do you hate to exercise? What do you think about exercise snacking? Which of the examples provided here do you think you can commit to do? Please share your thoughts with us!