We often have this notion that exercising has to be at a set time and place everyday. We go to the gym or run at a set time. For some, that can be very helpful and useful, but you can also do exercise snacks. Recent research has shown that short bursts of activity can have the same effect over time on our health. It may also be of benefit to those with some exercise restrictions as we age.
Says Dr. Martin Gibala, a kinesiology professor at McMaster University in Ontario “The big picture it’s just about activity, and there are lot’s of ways to build it into your day.”
The federal government guidelines on weekly physical activity is at about 150 minutes total that includes some aerobic activity as well as bone and muscle strengthening exercises at least two times a week. And most of these activities can be done right at home!
If getting outside is a challenge, either due to a lockdown or weather, you can start walking around the house, if you have stairs, do some vigorous up and down stairs walking. It all counts. You can also do wall-sits, where you put your back flat against the wall and push yourself up and down with your knees. Have some kettle bells? Excellent! You don’t need heavy bells, just ones that will give you some movement to work your muscles.
Jumping jacks, squats and burpees as well as sit-ups and push-ups can be done in a living room or rec room as well. They are great exercises for building your core strength and you can do a few here and there throughout the day, as “exercise snacks.”
It’s important to get your heart rate up, which is good for strengthening the muscle that the heart is but also pumping blood through your body. Increasing blood flow is good for getting oxygen to your brain and extremities and promotes good circulation while fighting inflammation as well.
You can even try short bursts of yoga exercises for five to ten minutes here and there during the day. Yoga is incredibly good for fighting inflammation and keeping you more supple and like Pilates, is good for mobility and keeping you flexible.
Adding some exercise snacks into your day can be done ever so easily in your home, or backyard. Movement is so incredibly important as we age. So, keep moving! And if you’re going for real snacks, like food, be sure to eat healthy! Try our healthy popcorn snack recipes here.