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Bite-sized exercise. It's a thing.

By Ashild Tessnes, PT Trainer at Surrey Hills

Yes, you read that right – it’s an abbreviation of snacks and exercise, where the goal is to do small bursts of exercise. Snack sized.

We understand getting to the gym multiple times a week can be a real challenge between work, school drop-offs, social events and trying to get enough sleep. We also understand that not everyone enjoys exercise and struggles to motivate themselves to even do 10 minutes on the bike or treadmill. In the World Health Organization’s Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour published in 2020, there were no longer recommendations for the minimum time for an exercise session. The recommendations prior to this change were each exercise session needing to be a minimum 10 minutes “to have any benefit on your cardiovascular health”.

A small study of 28 inactive adults who performed a 20-second bike sprint, three times a day, with a 1-4 hour break between, three days a week over a six-week period showed a 9% increase in fitness. This was comparable to the 13 percent improvement in the group that conducted the three 20-second bike sprints over 10 minutes.

What does this mean for you? It is still advisable to do a few ”full meal” workouts during the week, such as a 30-45min cardio workout or strength training session in a gym. But you can also take advantage of breaking up your day and work hours with a small burst of exercise. As short as 20 seconds to a minute at a time – you won’t even have time to work up a sweat, so you can literally do it in your office attire.

Something as simple as climbing three flights of stairs three times a day three days a week. Or taking a break every hour to do a minute of mountain climbing or push-ups.

Dan Brown, the author behind The Da Vinci Code, spends a minute every hour spent writing doing sit-ups or push-ups.

This small amount of activity is enough to improve insulin metabolism in people who are overweight, confirming earlier research indicating two minutes of moderate walking every 20 minutes reduces blood sugar following a high-sugar test drink.

If you are not an exerciser and you find it hard to get off the couch or away from your desk for a workout – why don’t you start by fitting in some snacksercise this week. Challenge your colleagues to do it with you. Every day at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM we all do 1min of squats.

Short bursts of exercise can give you an energy boost and improve your productivity – set an alarm and get it done.



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