Posted on Dec 30, 2019, 4 p.m.
If you cite that you don’t have enough time to exercise as an excuse to neglect your health you may want to consider taking advantage of exercise snacks to get moving more, as research has found that even small bursts of activity can be just as useful as longer gym regimes.
For those that are wanting to get into better shape new research from the University of British Columbia indicates that you don’t necessarily have to achieve it only through long and arduous workouts; Jonathan Little of UBC has published 2 studies showing the benefits of exercise snacks, which is 20 second strenuous bursts of activity such as dashing up a few flights(3) of stairs.
Incorporating exercise snacks three times a day for six weeks showed cardiovascular health improvements in those that were previously inactive similar to those that had begun a more moderate intensity exercise regime. Although Little cautions exercise snacks will not replace all of the benefits of more conventional forms of exercise for everyone, he hopes this will motivate people to move more who won’t make time for structured exercise as exercise snacks in short bursts can be done for free just about anywhere.
"That's our excitement with it," he said. "You can achieve some of the benefits of exercise with presumably very minimal effort and planning if you are willing to charge up the stairs or pick up the pace of your walk or that sort of thing."
Recent research from ParticipACTION revealed that only 16% of Canadian adults meet the guidelines for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week; and only 50% of adults in Canada take at least 7,500 steps per day but those who take that amount or higher are more likely to be meeting the health guidelines.
ParticipACTION states that “Just 15 minutes of physical activity a day improves sleep, lessens anxiety & enhances energy levels. #EverythingGetsBetter when you get active, but not enough Canadians are committing to an active lifestyle. The best way to remain healthy, strong, and independent is to get active.”
While exercise snacks are a great way to help people meet the fitness guidelines, a colleague of his is also encouraging people just to try and move more. Sally Stewart also from UBC says that sometimes people become defeated by the ideas of structured exercises requiring a lot of time. She suggests that people should consider lifestyle fitness such as simply walking more. Walking to the far bathroom, taking the stairs, standing more, parking at the back of the parking lot, use refillable water bottles and walk to the far water cooler to refill it, and making time for a short 10 minute exercise period of moderate exercise such as resistance training, planks, or even stretching can make a huge difference.
"Take every opportunity to move more," Stewart advises as all the minutes of exercise collected through a day add up, and improving cardiovascular health as well as keeping muscles healthy will contribute to physical and physiological well being.
"You know doing the exercise, helps you sleep better at night and if you are sleeping better at night, it's going to give you more energy during the day to be more productive, when we feel more productive, it's better mental health." she said.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.