Have you seen the five-minute exercise videos on the homepage over the past several months? These videos can be described as exercise snacks or short bouts of physical activity. They are designed to be able to fit into your busy schedule. But you may be asking ‘Can they really improve my health and fitness?’.
You may have heard or possibly even used the statement, ‘I want to exercise, but I just don’t have the time to do it?’ as a reason why someone has not started a structured exercise program. A perceived lack of time is commonly cited as a barrier to regular physical activity. Only 25% of adults in the U.S. meet the recommended minimum weekly exercise guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise. We have very busy lives and some days there is truly no time to take an extended break for yourself to get a workout in … this is where an exercise snack comes in as they are only five minutes in length! We may not have 30 minutes, but we certainly can find five minutes to move….just a little less scrolling through social media, correct?
Are there any benefits to exercise snacks? Research is beginning to show that exercise snacks can improve your cardiorespiratory or aerobic fitness levels, allowing you to perform tasks such as stair climbing, housecleaning, or gardening with a little more ease. In addition, there are health benefits to interrupting your sedentary time with short bouts of low to moderate intensity physical activity such as improvements in insulin sensitivity and decreased lipids in the blood.
Exercise snacks have also been shown to improve your cognition and mood. So, on those days when you are frustrated, feeling down, or anxious, try an exercise snack…just five minutes and you may be on your way to a better mood. Or – you are working on a project for work or school and you are stuck with how to proceed, perform an exercise snack and by the end of it you may have the solution!
These activities can be interspersed throughout your day to help break up prolonged periods of sitting and decrease sedentary behaviors. If you are just starting out or are returning to an exercise program, exercise snacks are a great way to get you on the road to improved health and fitness. Start with one exercise snack a day and work your way up to six snacks and you will be meeting the minimum exercise recommendations in no time at all! Garage Girls Fitness adds one new exercise a week, so check every week for a new snack to try!