It can be challenging to fit exercise into your daily routine, particularly if you have children or a demanding job. For this reason, “exercise snacking” might be the solution.
A recent YouGov study found that the top New Year’s resolution for British people in 2024 was to increase their activity or level of fitness, with 56% of respondents citing this as their main objective for the upcoming year.
A different survey indicated that the most frequent reason individuals give up exercising is a lack of time, which may explain why the idea of “exercise snacking” is gaining traction.
“Exercise snacking”: what is it?
Put simply, the term “exercise snacking” refers to quick workouts that you can do all day long.
Hence, you may “snack” on exercise throughout the day and fit it into your schedule as opposed to doing it all at once.
“These quick workouts can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours throughout the day,” says Dean Zweck, Product Development Manager at Total Fitness.
“The idea of exercise snacking is to keep your body moving consistently, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.”
The advantages of “exercise snacking”
Zweck lists “exercise snacking” as having five main advantages. Among them are:
- Improve mental well-being by making you feel better and giving you more energy.
- Taking short breaks from prolonged sitting can improve general health.
- helps with weight management and posture improvement.
- It can raise fitness and productivity levels.
- increases metabolism, which leads to more burning of calories.
When and how long to “exercise snack”
“The fantastic thing about exercise snacking is that it’s flexible,” explains Zweck. “Once you grow more comfortable, you can progressively increase the duration and frequency. You can start with just a few minutes a few times a day.
“The key is consistency – aim for several ‘snacks’ a day, as long as you can fit them into your schedule.”
Zweck continues by emphasizing the need to keep in mind NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is an idea that burns calories through non-planned activity, like walking up stairs or doing housework.
He continues, “In actuality, it contributes more to calorie burn than exercise does.” “With exercise accounting for 5% of calories burned and a significant 15% coming from NEAT.”
A few jumping jacks while waiting for your meal or breakfast to warm up, or getting up from your desk for a short while to perform some lunges or squats, are a couple instances of “exercise snacking.”
“It’s an ideal approach for people looking to increase their daily activity levels,” Zweck says. “Because exercise snacks keep you moving throughout the day, they can help with weight loss and increased fitness. Numerous muscle groups are worked throughout these mini-workouts, which improves muscle tone and increases calorie burn. It can also help reduce cravings and increase vitality.”