Exercise Snacks

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Last week I posted about Exercise resistance & how too little activity across our days can actually impair our ability to use fat during exercise or after our meals appropriately!

Fitness status & activity levels play a huge role in having a healthy metabolic response! Both when it comes to your gym performance AND how your body responds to the food you eat each day or after meals. Especially high fat meals.

Exercise snacks has been emerging in the literature over the last few years. Essentially these are small ALL OUT, maximal effort aerobic based exercise done across the day. Think 3 times a day or every hour on the hour hard effort stair climbing breaks, etc.

Exercise snacks have been shown to (data shared here — don’t be afraid to look at graphs!) to 1) improve measures of cardiovascular fitness such as VO2peak 2) improve measures of metabolic health like increased fat oxidation, lower blood lipids and insulin response and 3) some measures of vascular health.

These are important for your health both now and as you age. If you’re young and healthy those with a greater aerobic fitness status likely have meaningfully more favorable measures of this even if yours are good. This is potentially preventative and important.

Exercise snacks are exciting science since only ~20% of people meet or exceed current physical activity guidelines. This is an emerging alternative for time limited or even can be done across the day.

People report similar enjoyment between the two as well!

The biggest key right now is 1) it has to be aerobic although there is some data on lifting I can share about later and 2) it HAS to be intense to get these benefits in such small doses. These were hard — high intense efforts of cycling, stair climbing or could be running or something else aerobic.

If you want to try this aim for ~3 rounds of 3×20-30 in a short <10 min workout, doing it spread across your day or simply going hard up and down the steps at work across your day!

While this may not replace all training benefits of specifics sustained exercise — for health again DO WHAT YOU CAN. If you need to do less, make it more intense. Move often. It all counts!

Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.