A recent study done at Ulster University, UK, compared the effects on fitness, mental health, and risk of heart disease between two groups of walkers. One group completed 3 brisk 10-minute walks each day, while the other did just one brisk 30-minute walk. The benefits were the same, aside from those who did the short workouts, they had slightly better results for body mass and cholesterol.
The number 1 reason attorneys and executives give for not exercising as much as they know they should and would like to is time. High pressure careers often leave little wiggle room in your schedule for things you really want to do…like training on a regular, consistent basis. 30 minutes of uninterrupted time feels like it’s something that is easily stepped on because of the demands of your career. You may not have 30 – 45 minutes at your disposal every day, but you can certainly find 5 or 10 minutes to move your body…between calls or meetings, during a lunch break, before AND after your workday, etc. If you could start a training routine that is sustainable, guarantees results and always fits your busy schedule, 5 – 10 minutes at a time would you commit to it? It’s called exercise snacking and it’s legit!
What is exercise snacking?
Exercise snacking involves 5-to-10-minute micro-workouts, or exercise snacks, that add up to create a meaningful impact on your overall fitness. Instead of dedicating 30 minutes to an hour at the gym, you indulge in bite sized, effective exercises that can be mixed in throughout your day. Imagine taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing a quick set of squats during a conference call, or opting for a brisk walk during your lunch break. This is exercise snacking!
A recent study in Canada looked at the effect of completing 20-second bike sprints followed by 4 hours of inactivity. They found a 9% improvement in cardio fitness in inactive adults, similar to the 13% improvement in those who completed the same number of bike sprints in a day but within a singular 10-minute session.
An example of exercise snacking
Let's break it down with a practical example. Your workday starts at 8:00 AM, you are immersed in back-to-back meetings, and have 10 minutes between a meeting, and a phone call. In your office, you hit this exercise snacking session:
Do each of these exercises for 30 seconds, and then repeat the sequence for 2 rounds
Squat ► reverse lunge (right leg) ► reverse lunge (left leg) ► single-leg glute bridge (right leg) ► single-leg glute bridge (left leg)
You just got a leg workout in with time to spare before you have to jump on your next call. Compliment this with two 10-minute brisk walks and you’ve just gotten your training in for the day without needing to set aside a bigger block of time. Now imagine these exercise snacks being customized to fit your specific goals.
Why is exercise snacking beneficial?
- Time efficient: Busy schedules demand efficiency. Exercise snacking allows executives to make the most out of small pockets of time, achieving substantial fitness benefits without compromising tight agendas.
- Stress reduction: High pressure careers often bring stress. Exercise, even in short bursts, triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural stress relievers. It's a quick recipe for maintaining mental well-being amidst A demanding work environment.
- Consistency is key: Unlike traditional workout routines, exercise snacking promotes consistency. By spreading workouts throughout the day, you are more likely to adhere to your fitness goals, creating a sustainable approach to staying active.
- Boosts energy levels: When energy slumps hit during the workday, a quick exercise snack can act as a natural energy booster. It counteracts the sedentary effects of prolonged desk work, keeping attorneys and executives alert and focused.
The Exercise Snack Method
- Identify snack opportunities. Pinpoint moments in your daily schedule where you can insert short bursts of activity. It could be during phone calls, between meetings, breaks, or even while waiting for your coffee to brew.
- Choose effective exercises. Focus on exercises that engage multiple muscle groups. Desk pushups, lunges, squats, and jumping jacks are good examples. Tailor them to your environment, ensuring their inconspicuous yet effective. Having a set of exercise bands in your office would be golden.
- Set realistic goals. Start small and gradually increase the intensity. Setting realistic goals makes exercise snacking more achievable and prevents burnout. Meet with yes a trainer and get some help in setting realistic goals and mapping out a plan for your success.
- Incorporate regular snack breaks. Schedule short breaks throughout your day dedicated to exercise snacks. This ensures consistency and prevents extended periods of sitting.
- Track your progress. Monitor your activity levels and celebrate small victories. Tracking progress boosts motivation and reinforces the positive impact of exercise snacking on your overall well-being.
Are you ready to embark on a fitness journey tailored for your busy schedule, check out the jump start, a 12-week program designed for busy professionals who crave efficient and effective workouts. It's time to snack your way to optimal fitness.