Health Headlines: Taking time for “Workout Snacks”

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Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 8:17 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Between work, family, and chores, after a long day the last thing on your might is probably exercising. While studies have long shown that exercise improves your brain health, manages weight, strengthens bones and muscles, and reduces the risk of disease, new research is showing that you may not need a full workout to get those benefits.

Though most experts would say that the average person’s workout goal is to get about 150 minutes of exercise per week, Jenn Lea, a performance coach at Human Performance Institute says, “Squeezing in anything is better than nothing at all.”

Recent studies have found that “movement snacks,” or an exercise workout lasting only a few minutes or seconds, can be an effective workout as well.

Lea says, “It can be as little as 30 seconds sprinting up a flight of stairs or it could be as long as 10 minutes walking around your block.”

In a Canadian study, researchers had people race up three flights of stairs three times a day, which took about 20 seconds. After six weeks, the participants reportedly increased their aerobic fitness by about 5%.

Another study at the University of Texas in Austin found that four seconds of intense intervals, repeated until they’d achieved a minute of exertion, led to rapid improvements in strength and fitness for middle-aged and older adults.

Some ways to incorporate “movement snacks” include starting the day out with a morning stretch, taking a walk during your lunch break, or taking a break during the day to do 30 to 60 seconds of squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, or sit-ups.

Other studies found that these short bursts of exercise can lead to better sleep, increased longevity, clearer thinking, learning, and judgment.