The average American works longer hours and faces longer commutes than a decade ago. The advent of cell phones and text messaging means that many of us can never really have guaranteed time away from work. Could a fitness snack break be a solution for busy employees?
Trying to accomplish the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity is a struggle for many. Finding 30 minutes to exercise each workday can seem impossible, much less securing an hour each day to achieve weight loss and shape transformation goals.
There’s Always Time for Snacking
That solid 30- to 60-minute block for a workout might be far-fetched for you. The solution is taking little fitness bites throughout the day. Think of them as fitness snacks.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are the James Brown of fitness– you hit it and quit it. Sets are 20 to 90 seconds each, but they engage multiple muscle groups and rely on your own bodyweight for resistance. This gives you more bang for your fitness buck and can be a lot more productive than 30 minutes on the treadmill.
We suggest taking five minutes at the end of each hour of your workday (except lunch) for a fitness snack. (If you have a wearable device that reminds you to get moving, that’s a great reminder to take your “snack.”)
Your Fitness Snack Buffet
Just like you choose healthy snacks at work, you can incorporate physical activity into your day. Try one exercise per hour over the course of your day. Increase the duration or reps as you get stronger. Rotate through the list for a full-body workout.
Plank – Start with 10-second increments and work your way up to two minutes. Daily Burn demonstrates the dos and don’ts of planking. This is an easy exercise to do in a cubicle.
Tricep Dips – Start slowly and with few repetitions. Very Well Fit shows how do tricep dips. Make sure you have a stationary chair and you’ll have arms like Michelle Obama from this fitness snack in a few months.
Lunges – Do a few slowly while paying close attention to form before increasing your reps. Greatist has lunging basics and a few variations to keep it interesting. Lunges are like tricep dips for your lower body. Hold onto a chair for balance if needed.
Mountain Climbers – This is one the most physically aggressive exercises on our list, which means it burns a nice little bundle of calories and could make you break a sweat. The New York Times has a video to help you get started.
Dance Break – Pump up the jams and get your body moving. This is also a great stress-breaker. Freestyle to your favorite tune. Learn the moves to a fun music video from your youth. (We dare you to try out some New Edition choreography.) One song should do the trick for each fitness snack.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Before starting your snack, prime your body for each bite. Stand up, roll your shoulders and bend your knees a few times. After you finish each round, stretch your hands above your head and take deep breaths until your breathing is normal. Gently stretch the area you just worked. Grab some water to stay hydrated.
As in all things fitness, listen to your body. Speak with your doctor if there may be concerns about taking on an exercise program. If it hurts more than a challenging stretch, stop.
Now get to snacking!