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It's (Exercise) Snack Time!

ReachMD Healthcare Image
03/03/2024
healthywomen.org

Medically reviewed by Brandon Bishop DPT, ATC

Are you sitting down? It might be time for a snack — an exercise snack, that is.

New research shows that bursts of exercise throughout the day — one- or two-minute “snacks” — can improve health and protect muscles from the harmful consequences of sitting too long.

The research also found that exercise snacking may be just as beneficial as traditional workouts. Why? The key is moving your body more often. In one study, participants who sat nonstop for 10-plus hours but exercised for 30 minutes straight per day had elevated blood sugars, cholesterol and body fat, but the men and women who moved more often throughout the day were healthier.

And the best part? You can do exercise snacks anytime, anywhere. “You don't need to find 45- to 60-minute blocks during the day to take care of yourself,” said Brandon Bishop DPT, ATC, a physical therapist at Reischl Physical Therapy in California. “Participating in two-minute exercises throughout the day is a great way to improve your overall health, both physically and mentally.”

Here’s how it works: Try one of the exercises in the snack menu below for two minutes every hour (or every 30 minutes if possible) and get ready to look and feel like a healthy snack.

Mini Lunge

  • Begin in a standing upright position.
  • Step forward with one foot and lower down into a mini lunge position. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg.
  • Tip: Do not let your front knee move forward past your toes.

Single-Leg Balance with Alternating Floor Reaches

  • Begin in a standing upright position.
  • Bend forward at your hips, lifting one leg straight behind you, and reach toward the ground with one hand at the same time. Return back to the starting position and repeat with your other arm.
  • Tip: Maintain your balance and keep your back straight as you bend forward.

Squat with Chair Touch

  • Begin in a standing upright position in front of a chair.
  • Lower yourself into a squatting position, bending at your hips and knees, until you lightly touch the chair. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Tip: Make sure to maintain your balance during the exercise and do not let your knees bend forward past your toes.

Squat Jumps

  • Begin in a standing upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Lower yourself into a squatting position with your arms straight, then jump up, moving your arms back as you do. Land in a squat and repeat the movement.
  • Tip: Make sure your knees do not collapse inward or move forward past your toes as you land and try not to over arch your back.

Wall Squat

  • Begin in a standing upright position in front of a wall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Lean back into a squat against the wall with your knees bent to 90 degrees, and hold this position.
  • Tip: Make sure your knees are not bent forward past your toes and keep your back flat against the wall during the exercise.

Wall Squat with Leg Lifts

  • Begin in a standing upright position in front of a wall. Place your palms against the wall and lean back into a squat position.
  • Slowly lift one leg up to 90 degrees, then lower it back down and repeat with your other leg.
  • Tip: Make sure your knees are not bent forward past your toes and keep your back flat against the wall during the exercise.

Sidestepping

  • Begin standing upright. Bend your hips and knees into a mini squat position.
  • Slowly step sideways, then step back to the starting position in the opposite direction.
  • Tip: Keep your feet pointing straight forward, your abdominals tight and do not let your knees collapse inward during the exercise.

Standing Hip Extension

  • Begin in a standing upright position holding on to a stable object for support.
  • Lift one leg backward, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Tip: Keep your back straight and maintain your balance during the exercise.

Standard Plank

  • Begin lying on your front, propped up on your elbows.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your hips and legs up into a plank position, keeping your elbows directly under your shoulders. Hold this position.
  • Tip: Keep your back straight and maintain a gentle chin tuck during the exercise.

Supine 90/90 Alternating Heel Touches with Posterior Pelvic Tilt

  • Begin lying on your back with your legs bent and your feet resting on the ground. Tighten your abdominals to tilt your pelvis backward, then move both legs to a 90 degree angle.
  • Slowly lower one leg down to touch your heel to the ground, while keeping your knee bent, then bring it back up to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.
  • Tip: Keep your abdominals tight and your pelvis tilted backward throughout the exercise.

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Schedule24 May 2024