‘Exercise Snacks’ for When You Have No Time to Work Out – Everyday Health

‘Exercise Snacks’ for When You Have No Time to Work Out – Everyday Health

You have a zillion things to accomplish today, and that means your favorite workout might be off the to-do list — or is it? Even if you have just a few minutes, doing one or two exercises can still bring benefits. Such “exercise snacks” can break up long stretches of sitting, boost energy, and may even improve long-term health.

More movement throughout the day tends to be good movement, says Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney in Australia.

“Most adults will benefit from embracing any opportunity in their daily routines to get exercise, even if it’s 30 seconds of sprinting up a flight of stairs, carrying their shopping bags instead of using a cart, or just walking at a faster pace,” he says. “It all adds up to improve overall level of fitness, as well as heart and lung function.”

A 2019 study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism looked at the effect of “exercise snacks,” or short-duration, high-intensity activities. For this research, they asked a group of young adults (who all reported getting less than one hour of physical activity per week at the start of the study) to go up a flight of stairs quickly three times per day, three days a week for six weeks. They found that just that amount of fitness improved cardiorespiratory fitness.

RELATED: How to Start a Cardio Habit You Can Stick With

Dr. Stamatakis coauthored a 2019 editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine outlining the many studies that show sporadic, incidental physical activity benefits health (and praising the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for dropping the previous requirement that physical activity should be done in bouts of 10 minutes or more to count toward weekly requirements).

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a chunk of time to devote to a 30-minute, 45-minute, or longer workout, it’s still worth getting a little sweat on. But what type of movement should you do to maximize that “exercise snack” time?

Here’s what four fitness professionals recommend.

1. Around-the-World Lunges

Particularly if you’ve been doing a lot of sitting lately, movement is key, but it’s also crucial to focus on moves that counteract that physical stagnation, says Rocky Snyder, CSCS, a personal trainer in Capitola, California.

“Your body adapts to any environment it’s placed in, and sitting causes muscles around the hips and lower back to shorten, while also causing other muscles to overwork and get inflamed,” he says. He recommends the “lunge matrix” (sometimes called “around-the-world lunges”).

These multidirectional lunges lengthen the hip, lower back, and leg muscles that remain dormant while sitting and improve range of motion, Snyder says.

How to do it

  • Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a large step forward with your left foot. Bend both knees to about 90 degrees, making sure that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. Your front knee should be directly over your ankle (and not extended past it). That is your front lunge. Step your left foot back …….

    Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/personal-trainers-go-to-exercises/

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