High-intensity interval training increases your overall fitness, but it’s not always convenient to change clothes, work up a sweat, and exercise. So researchers at McMaster University set out to find a more convenient way for people to incorporate movement and aerobic exercise into their day.
The researchers found a cohort of healthy but inactive college students and asked them to incorporate two “exercise snacks” throughout the day. These “snacks” consisted of a few jumping jacks, lunges, and squats plus walking as briskly as possible up three flights of stairs. And that was it. The “workout” lasted approximately 30 seconds. By the end of the five-week program, the students had increased their aerobic fitness by 5 percent and showed more leg power while cycling.
Finding ways to move is important, even if it’s not a run or a stationary bike ride. Every hour we spend sitting or lying down increases our likelihood of heart-related issues. When we are in a sedentary position, our muscles aren’t engaged sufficiently to help regulate fatty acids in the blood. Meaning that when we are sitting, blood sugar and cholesterol slowly build up in our bloodstreams.
That doesn’t mean we can’t sit around and watch TV at the end of a long day, but it does mean that incorporating more movement into our days can help combat the effects of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
You should still aim for the recommended 150 minutes of weekly moderate to vigorous exercise, but try these five easy exercise “snacks” to help keep you moving.