What is Fitness Snacking or Exercise Snacking?

What is Fitness Snacking or Exercise Snacking?

The terms fitness snacking and exercise snacking, at first glance, seem to allude to “eating while exercising”.

But it has nothing to do with that.

Instead, it’s used to describe short periods of exercise performed throughout the day, rather than running a continuous hour-long workout.

What is exercise snacking?

It’s a method for structuring your exercise into short sessions completed two or more times a day.

These are usually 5 to 10 or 15 minute exercise sessions with 1 minute rest between each exercise.

What is exercise snacking or fitness snacking?

If you can’t train every day, you can still stay active by developing “exercise snacks”.

Instead of foregoing movement entirely, you can opt for small intervals, like a HIIT routine, strength training, running, or a yoga session.

You can do them in the office or at home, without special clothing or equipment.

What are the benefits of training in short bursts?

Short workouts can help prevent conditions linked to a sedentary lifestyle, such as diabetes and heart disease.

In this sense, exercise snacking is an approach that allows you to incorporate physical activity into your daily life, in a manageable way; and, without a doubt, any physical activity is better than none.

Among the many benefits of this practice, we break down the following:

It boosts your brain

By introducing short bursts of exercise into your day, you’re not just giving your brain what it needs to fire up and refocus.

Your body is also responding to the psychological effects that promote cognitive health.

It helps you achieve weight loss goals

When it comes to weight loss, it doesn’t matter so much which exercise you choose, but that you do it. Some studies show that it’s possible to lose weight regardless of whether you train in one long session or several short sessions a day.

It lowers your stress levels

Short bursts of exercise can provide you with the relief you need to get through a stressful day and focus on everything you have to do.

What are the benefits of training in short bursts?

It promotes the release of endorphins, which reduce anxiety levels.

It activates your energy levels

A quick workout can give you the perfect energy boost. Even just five minutes of moving around can serve to improve blood flow and deliver nutrients to muscle tissue, giving a boost to your energy production.

On the other hand, various studies at the University of British Columbia have shown that “exercise snacks” have other benefits too, including:

  • Improving aerobic capacity.
  • Keeping people in shape.
  • Increasing concentration, productivity and creativity.

Exercise snacking routine

There are endless ways to programme your exercise snacking routine. We suggest you take a look at the Movement Break from the University of British Columbia videos to get some ideas.

They suggest simple pre- and post-exercise snacking activities that will increase your heart rate, including:

  • Walking briskly around your block for 10 minutes;
  • Performing strength exercises using whatever you have on hand;
  • If you don’t have weights, filling up a water bottle will do the trick.

Mobility exercises

Although “exercise snacks” don’t have to be limited to raising your heart rate, they can also be based on stretching or mobility exercises.

Here are some exercise snacking ideas to develop a routine during the day.

  • Do between 5-10 minutes of yoga while the coffee is brewing.
  • A couple of hours before your lunch break walk around the office.
  • Set an alarm every hour and perform 10 squats. This will increase your lower body muscle strength.
  • If your office is on another floor, take a snack to go up and down the stairs. Even doing it just once will strengthen your leg muscles.
  • When you leave work, instead of getting in the car, go for a 10 minute walk. This will help get that last bit of movement your body needs to end the day.

Possible risks of exercise snacking

The main risk in exercise snacking is loss of balance if you opt for standing exercises because you have not had much time to warm up, among other things.

You can minimise this risk by executing movements in a controlled manner and holding on to a stable object, such as a table or door frame.

Short exercise sessions should be structured to avoid any cardiovascular load, like you might experience while running.

If at any point your legs start to ache during any of the exercises, you can stop, but don’t confuse exertion with pain.

Another risk is exactly that, feeling tired towards the end of the session. That’s why rest is incredibly important and why the segments shouldn’t be too demanding. Take them at your own pace, choosing your repetition speed.

However, we can assure you that exerce snacking will help you feel better, in a holistic way.

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About María José García
María José García
María José has been linked to sport since she was a child when she entered and even competed in various sporting disciplines, such as skating, swimming and gymnastics.
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