Exercise Snacks — The Painless Way to Satisfy Your Body’s Appetite for Movement

“Exercise snacks” have recently come to my attention through my eclectic online reading habits. It seems to be a popular idea right now, but I was able to trace it back to at least 2014, in an article from the New York Times website: “Exercise ‘Snacks’ to Control Blood Sugar” by Gretchen Reynolds.

She defined “exercise snacks” as “multiple, brief, snack-sized portions of exercise.”

Apparently the concept started with a study(ies) on how short bursts of exercise spread throughout the day can be helpful in managing blood sugar.

More recently, the idea is applied to more general benefits of exercise.

In a January, 2019 article in Psychology Today, Meg Seleg makes the point that “too often people view exercise as a dreaded chore.  The phrase ‘exercise snacking’ reminds us that we can view exercise as a treat.  Moving around can feel good and give us pleasure!”

I completely agree. I’ve gradually come to really enjoy exercise. Nothing fancy or extreme. Just a brisk walk, a tiny jog, a few minutes of bouncing on my mini trampoline. But it feels great, and makes a good break from whatever else I’m doing.

Looking at a good habit as not something we have to do, but something we want to do to nurture ourselves, can reframe our feelings about it and make us more likely to  actually do it.

So as I see it, these exercise snacks have three main lifestyle/fitness benefits.

  1. For people who don’t like to exercise, doing it in snack form throughout the day may make it less overwhelming and more achieveable. It can even become a fun break to look forward to, that you start wanting to do more often.
  2. Another prevalent concept is that if your work or lifestyle is mainly sedentary, then doing even a substantial workout once a day is — though of course beneficial — not enough to counteract the negative effects of being inactive most of the day. Adding in exercise snacks can keep you more active throughout the day.
  3.  These exercise breaks can also refresh your mind and renew your energy, so you’re more productive when you get back to work.

So whether you replace your longer workout with several smaller ones or you use these “snacks” to supplement your regular workout the way you would supplement regular meals with healthful snacks, they can be a fun and easy addition to your daily routine.

Some possible snacks listed include activities as simple as standing up for a few minutes, climbing a flight of stairs a few times, walking around in your house, or going outside to get the newspaper (or mail).

Other possible exercise snacks

  • Walk or jog around the block
  • Walk on the treadmill while you enjoy a chapter of an audiobook
  • Jump rope
  • Play with your (grand)children.
  • Energetically perform a chore, like vacuuming or gardening.

Use your imagination. The point is to fit exercise in more times in a day, and enjoy it more.

That’s it for now. Happy snacking, and next time we’ll talk about tomatoes, (sort of).

 

Something Different, Again: Two Announcements and Two New Kinds of Snacks

Announcement 1. With some reluctance, I have decided to put this blog on hold for awhile. Probably for 2-3 months. The reason is that I am currently focusing on other projects, including an intense class to help me improve my skills as a writer and content marketer. I just didn’t feel I could do everything — including this blog — justice, so a temporary break seemed like the best idea.

The good news is that the skills I’m learning in this class will probably make this blog better. I’m planning to try them out with the next part of my post about Words With Friends. So I appreciate your putting up with this temporary change.

Announcement 2. Though I had planned not to blog at all during this “sabbatical,” I’ve decided to stay in touch with shorter, more informal posts, if possible every Tuesday, since they won’t take as long to write – or read.

I wouldn’t want to abandon my vast audience that I now almost need two hands to count, and as a writer I can’t really stop writing for that long. So this is a way to keep writing, keep sharing, and keep trying out new ideas to see what you’d like to hear more of, while keeping it all short and sweet.

I’ll share an insight, an experience, a quote, a poem, a book review, a quick summary of a concept or trend I’ve learned about, etc. Anything I found inspiring or funny or useful that I think you’d also enjoy or find worth applying to your life or work.

Usually these mini-posts will be just three or four hundred words, maybe sometimes even less, so you can think of them as reading ‘snacks,’ rather than a whole meal.

I got the idea of non-food snacks from a concept I’ve been reading about lately. It’s called “exercise snacking.” Hope that whets your appetite, because that’s what I’ll be writing about for next time.