Seems like everyone is into exercise snacks these days whether they be Power Bars, raisins, nuts, some granola or whatever. Heck, some gym rats won’t think about breaking out of sweat without having something to munch on. Good for them. But for others, exercise snacks are taking on a whole new meaning, which has nothing to do with food or even going to the gym. These people see exercise snacks as brief spurts of exertion, maybe a couple of minutes each time, that are repeated several times each day. Snacks can come in the form of stair climbing, jumping jacks, chair squats, lunges, sprints, push-ups and more. Disciples claim these activity bursts provide the same benefits as regular exercise: improved cardiovascular function, increased endurance, enhanced flexibility, greater muscle strength and reduced blood sugar levels. In addition, all this takes place without the cost or hassle of going to the gym. They may be right, according to a burgeoning array of research, which seems to indicate that the benefits of exercise snacks take hold once someone is burning at least 100 calories a day and the gains only grow over time. Read on to learn more.
Planning Not Required
Sometimes just finding time to get to the gym undermines a lot of good intentions. Exercise snacks are incredibly efficient because they can be easily incorporated into a day whether at the office or home, eliminating the need to plan ahead.
Snacks are extremely cost-efficient. They eliminate the need for gym memberships, equipment or even special clothing. They can be consumed virtually cost-free at any time and in any place.
Overcome Other Exercise Barriers
They can break down other barriers and excuses people use to skip going to the gym. They are short so they aren’t boring and since they can be done quickly and privately, those chowing down on exercise snacks don’t have to worry about being ridiculed by more polished workout pros who frequent gyms.
These exercises are not only efficient, they are effective as well. A European study found that small bursts of vigorous exercise do more good for muscle health than extended exercises that lead to fatigue. For example, an isolated 10-second cycling sprint altered the concentration of intramuscular metabolites, while a 30-second sprint triggered adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, a key intracellular signaling cascade involved in muscular training adaptation.
Snacks Add Up
U.S. adults and adolescents are already too sedentary. Fortunately, snack exercises can not only get these people moving, but the repeated bursts of activity can add up to impressive health benefits while helping individuals reach targeted goals of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
Great For Unfit Newbies
Small exercise snacks offer a big health return for the elderly, those in poor shape or those who are inactive because of disease-related risk factors. These activities are not only easier for individuals in these groups, but they also have a bigger payback than those who are already active.
Improves Couch Potato Hearts
Those locked into their couches for too long each day will not only benefit from these snacks, but these exercises are likely to improve their heart health. One study found that otherwise, sedentary adults who did three 10-minute stair-climbing exercise snacks three days each week saw a 5 to 10 percent improvement in cardiac function. Each “snack” in the study consisted of a warmup (10 jumping jacks, 10 air squats and 5 lunges on each side) followed by a 3-flight stair climb.
Stair-Climbing Helps The Overweight
A 2021 research effort found that breaking up 9 hours of sitting daily with hourly 10-15 second stair-climbing “exercise snacks” can have a significant impact on reducing after-meal blood insulin and nonesterified fatty acid levels in overweight men.
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