Don’t Have Time For A Full Workout? Try Exercise “Snacks” Instead
Exercise doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.
If you don’t have the time or space to get a full workout in (or if you’re just not comfortable going back to the gym yet), welcome to the club. Just like almost everything else in 2020, we’re all finding new ways to make our lives and bodies work in the new normal. So if the pandemic destroyed your workout routine, here’s a great way to begin reclaiming that physical prowess: the exercise snack.
This is a snack-sized portion of exercise: a walk around the block, a set of pushups at the office, 10 minutes of yoga-inspired stretching, or putting up a resistance band and doing a set of pulldowns every time you walk by.
A little bit goes a long way
Research supports the idea that small bouts of exercise accumulated throughout the day can provide the same benefits as longer continuous workouts, including improvements in aerobic fitness and weight loss.
People often assume that in order to reap benefits of exercising you need to break a sweat, and that it needs to be for a significant chunk of time. But the reality is that the recommendation by the American Heart Association of at least 150 minutes of exercise each week can be performed in 30-minute workouts five days a week or accumulated with 5-minute mini-workouts throughout the week.
In one study, researchers compared four different groups:
- Exercisers doing one 30-minute workout per day
- Exercisers doing two 15-minute workouts per day
- Exercisers doing three 10-minute workouts per day
Their findings? All the exercisers lost weight and increased endurance regardless of which exercise format they used. The only group that did not see any changes was the non-exercising group.
What good is a snack?
It depends on what the rest of your exercise routine looks like, if you even have one. If you currently do nothing, snacks are a good way to ramp up toward a full exercise habit. If you’ve been taking a break from working out, snacks might whet your appetite enough to make you get back into your old routine. And even if you currently work out on a regular schedule, snacks can still be nutritious (metaphorically speaking).
The beauty of exercise snacks is the lack of commitment. You don’t have to change your clothes, because you’re probably not going to work up a sweat. You don’t have to psych yourself up for multiple exhausting sets of dumbbell work if you only plan to do ten reps and then get back to work.
Don’t know where to start?
WFH Wakeup is a Chrome extension (also available as a Mac app) that makes exercise snacks easy. By default, it interrupts you every 55 minutes and prompts you to do a set of three exercises.
There’s no timer stopping you from getting back to work, just a fullscreen reminder that maybe you should do a few exercises. Sometimes they’re upper or lower body exercises, sometimes stretches, sometimes cardio.
So give snacks a try, because exercise doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.
And remember, while you can expect to experience some degree of delayed onset muscle soreness when you start any kind of exercise program, pain is never normal. Pain is the body’s way of saying something is wrong – consult your chiropractor if the pain persists.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
Whether you’re a pro athlete, weekend warrior or just looking to tone up, study after study shows that regular chiropractic care is an essential part of getting out of pain and reaching your full potential. Ready to get stronger and looking for a chiropractor? To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.