Exercise Snacking – Have You Considered It?

by Richard Adams in Training

exercise | Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

Grazing on food throughout the day comes easily to most of us.  Often life takes over and despite the best of intentions, snacks are all we can manage to keep us going during the day.  We know that whether it comes from a full sit-down meal, or a series of snacks on the run, the calorific value of food counts the same.  Keeping a food diary is a well-established way of keeping track of what we consume, and it’s often adding up those extra bites, licks and tastes we have throughout the day that take us by surprise!

We often don’t apply the same logic to our activity and exercise though.  If there isn’t time for the usual gym workout due to another commitment, it’s tempting to skip it altogether.  It can feel like if it’s not a full-on 45 minute or 60 minutes session, then it’s not worth doing.

Micro-workouts, or as I like to call them ‘exercise snacks’, are a great way to supplement and balance out an activity and exercise regime.   Got a spare 10 minutes before your next meeting?  Do a couple of sets of body weight lunges and squats.  Not got time for your usual 30-minute walk at lunchtime?  Take a couple of shorter walks instead.  A recent study has shown the exercise snacks, just like those tasty treats we reach for when we’re time pressed, also add up and can even have more beneficial health effects than equivalent bouts of continuous exercise.

So next time you miss a session, or if you want to progressively up your activity volume, consider building some exercise snacks into your daily routine.  5 minutes of skipping to get my heart rate up, a few minutes of stretching and core work is one of my go-to micro workouts.  A couple of sets of bodyweight single leg deadlifts is another great one to build up leg strength, and just takes 3 minutes.  Be sure to mix it up and maintain lots of variation in the exercises you do. Find the snacks you love and consume them in moderation!