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No time to exercise? Try snacking instead!

25 January 2019


Did your new year’s resolution have something to do with getting more exercise? How’s that working out for you so far? If you are struggling to find time to exercise for the recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, maybe you should just try snacking instead …

Before you get too excited, this type of ‘snacking’ isn’t the variety that involves delicious morsels of munchables – it’s ‘exercise snacking’, or short bursts of exercise that you can fit in throughout your day. A recent study found that a few minutes of vigorous exercise three times a day improved cardiorespiratory fitness. This study involved sedentary young adults briskly climbing a three-flight stairwell (60 steps) separated by one to four hours of recovery, three days a week for six weeks. However, replacing the stair climb with any short burst of high intensity exercise can achieve similar positive results, while also helping to build muscle strength.

So, the secret for time-poor peeps struggling to achieve their 30 minutes, three times a week is simply breaking it down to three 10-minute exercise snacks a day, or six five-minute snacks. Here are some ideas for high intensity exercise snacks you get your teeth into at home or at work, without any equipment – you won’t even need to change your clothes! Now that’s removing a few obstacles (and excuses) …

Five-minute exercise snack options

  1. Do you work in a sedentary office job? Get up from your desk and go for a brisk five-minute walk at 10am, 11am, noon, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. This has added benefits of reducing your sitting time, and refocusing you mentally for the next block of work. You will return to your desk re-energised both mentally and physically
  2. Do you have stairs at home or at work? Try replicating the study by quickly climbing up and down the stairs for five minutes, six times a day, with at least one hour of rest in between
  3. Want to build up some muscle strength? Try the following bodyweight exercise routine, which should take about five minutes to complete:
    • 15x squats
    • 15x heel raises (or step-ups leading with alternate legs if a step is available)
    • 15x push ups (can be done against a wall, bench/desk if safe, or on the floor)
    • 15x triceps dips (can be done using a bench/desk if safe, or on the floor)
    • 15x lunges - left leg
    • 15 x lunges - right leg
    • 15 x crunches (can be done on the floor or standing).

10-minute exercise snack options

  1. Go for a brisk 10-minute walk three times a day
  2. Do a brisk 10-minute stair climb workout three times a day
  3. Double the reps of the bodyweight exercise routine outlined above and complete three times a day.

Looking for more variety? Check out Healthier. Happier for more short workouts you can do anywhere.

Last updated: 25 January 2019