Most of us understand how important exercise is for our overall wellbeing. While some people are able to commit to consistent workout plans, others are unable for a multitude of reasons. This is where exercise or ‘movement snacking’ is an easy and effective way to add physical activity to your daily routine. Our Chiropractor Jess explains movement snacking and how all of us can benefit.
What is movement snacking?
While there is no official definition of a movement snack, the idea is that we add in short bouts of movement throughout the day, which is easier to manage than a longer workout session. There shouldn’t be any need for equipment, to head off to the gym or any elaborate planning; a movement snack can happen anywhere, at any time!
Studies have found that this type of snacking can improve our metabolic health by reducing the risk of conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, as well as improving muscular strength and endurance. It has also been shown to improve our cardio-respiratory fitness, so our hearts pump more effectively, our lungs work better and our resting heart rate is lowered.
How often should you snack?
It is recommended that you indulge in this type of snacking as often as you can throughout the day as it helps to reduce the amount of time spent sitting or lying down. Some recommend adding movement in every hour whenever possible. The size of the snack can vary from one minute to ten, depending on the time you have available and the intensity of your previous snacks.
The best part is that it all adds up to helping you reach the weekly target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise the UK government recommend to all adults.
How to start movement snacking?
The important thing is to get physical and do it often. Examples include taking the stairs instead of using the lift, parking further away and walking the rest, going up and down the stairs 3-4 times in succession or doing 5 squats before you sit down. Even doing household chores like hoovering or gardening can be counted as long as its done with some intent!
My personal favourite snack has to be kitchen dancing as most of my patients will know! The idea is to have a little dance while the kettle boils, when there’s an advert break on the tv, or any time you hear a song you like.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to movement snacking, a quick power walk to the post box, walking lunges around your living room or just marching on the spot all counts as long as your heart rate is increased. Start by looking at your day and identify where you spend a lot of time sedentary or you have a spare few minutes and challenge yourself to add in movement.
The little and often approach can make it much easier to start adding movement into your daily routine. Almost anywhere and anytime can be good for this type of snacking; in fact I actively encourage you to snack more!
If you have any questions or need guidance on how to start, call us on 01452 883232 to speak to one of our team.
By Jessica Davy, Chiropractor