Exercise. Everyone knows they must do it, but only some people love it. You may be surprised to learn that you are making a simple task too complicated.
New research has emerged that is excellent news for most people. After all, the two most significant objections to exercise are: “I don’t have time” and “It’s too hard.” The conventional recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise a day is not necessary in order to reap the benefits of exercise.
There is one sure thing. The human body was designed to get a certain amount of movement daily. Unfortunately, many Americans get no exercise whatsoever. Dr. Fred Roberto created the maxT3 exercise program, which uses metabolic conditioning principles in a high-intensity, short-duration format. We use this program in our clinic because research has shown it to be the most effective form of exercise that fits the intention of getting fit to be healthy. It takes a short duration to a whole new level and makes it much easier for people to move their bodies without a huge time commitment, trip to the gym, or large amounts of equipment. Of course, any activity is better than none, so that is where this new research comes into play.
The concept is simple: Exercise Snacks. As the name implies, this is a bite-sized movement session during the day that doesn’t take a lot of time yet is very effective.
A 2022 Study entitled “Exercise Snacks: A Novel Strategy to Improve Cardiometabolic Health” defines Exercise Snacks as “brief isolated bouts of vigorous exercise performed over the course of the day.” It goes on to say that exercise snacks “represent a feasible, well-tolerated, and time-efficient strategy to simultaneously improve cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and reduce the detrimental impact of prolonged sedentary behavior on cardiometabolic health. “ (1)
The exercise snacks described in the study are all under one-minute bouts of exercise. The great news is that anyone can do it; it doesn’t require equipment and can be done virtually anywhere at any time. Exercise snacks make a lot of sense to combat the new trend of a sedentary lifestyle that contributes to inflammation, weight gain, poor mental health, and disease development. After all, exercise can reduce your risk of developing disease, helps with sleep, increase energy, condition your heart and lungs, balance glucose, elicit weight loss, improves respiration, and more. (2)
These high-intensity, short-duration workouts are just 6:00 to 18:00 minutes and elicit amazing results in just minutes a day. Ideally, you should try to get longer, more intense workouts at least 3-4 times during the week while adding in frequent exercise snacks. If you are looking for an exercise program, the maxT3 program is available here: www.maxt3virtualfitness.com.
Aim for five exercise snacks throughout the day to get started. Use a tracking app or set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to get up and move.
Here are some examples (do 1-3 minute “snacks”):
- Chair sits- Stand up and sit down on a chair.
- Air Squats – Squat up and down, trying to get the full range of motion in each repetition.
- Lunges- Step forward into a lunge, keeping your back leg straight. Step with the other foot forward and continue.
- Push Ups- Try to get full range of motion. If they are too difficult, use a chair, table, desk, or even the wall so that you can get the full range of motion.
- Stair Climbs – Use any staircase to go up and down. Increase speed for more intensity.
- Speed Walk or Jog – Get your heart rate up with this simple movement. A pace of 80 steps per minute is considered slow, while a pace of 100 steps per minute would be brisk.
- Jumping Jacks or Stepping Jacks – This old-school calisthenics movement is a full-body movement that is very effective. If jumping is too difficult, step your leg out instead.
- Arm Circles – Do small circles forward and back, then large circles forward and back.
- Shoulder Touches – Start in a plank position and touch the opposite shoulder with your hand. Continue to alternate.
- Crunches – Lay on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees and crunch up with your abdominal muscles. Cross your arms across your chest – do not pull on your head and neck.
- Fast Feet/Foot Fires – Move your feet as if running in place but go fast, as if hot coals are under your feet. Get your arms involved for more intensity.
- Mountain Climbers – Start in plank position and then bring your knee to your chest; continue to switch legs.
- Burpees – These are sure to get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing. Start standing, put your hands to the ground, jump your feet back, do a push-up, jump your feet back to your hands, then stand up.
Other ways you can get extra exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise:
- Park further away and walk to your destination.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do a bout of speed-cleaning (vacuuming, carrying laundry up and down stairs, mopping, etc.).
- Wash your car.
- Mow your lawn.
- Walk your dog.
- Walk instead of sitting in your car at your child’s sports practice.
- Ride a bike.
- Play catch with your kids.
- Get a standing desk.
- Walk or pace while you are on the phone.