How can you keep physically active when you’re working from home and have a desk job? When is snacking good for you? The answer is a ‘movement snack’. “A what I hear you ask?” I have been snacking on (insert snack of choice) for the past year!”
A movement snack is, alas not snacking on your favourite biscuit whilst doing the school run, but a short 5-15 minute bite size chunk of physical activity. The idea is that doing 3-4 of these ‘snacks’ per day is as effective as doing an hour-long bout of exercise in one go. This makes it more achievable and perhaps not so daunting as you can have a movement ‘snack’ whenever it works best for you. These mini bites of exercise will also help improve your mood, fitness and overall health.
10 Movement Snack Hacks:
- Go for a walk. Aim for three 10-minute brisk walks per day or five 30 min brisk walks per week. Walking is a great way to stay active every day and is both physically and mentally therapeutic.
- Take the stairs: The gyms are still shut but walking up and down the stairs a few times can improve aerobic fitness and strength. Start off with 3 flights of stairs 3 times per day.
- Do an online video. There are a plethora of gyms and individuals offering everything from quick 15-minute workouts to longer classes for those who have more time. My go to favourites are: Yoga with Adrienne https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA and Pilates Anytime https://www.pilatesanytime.com/cust_home . There are also some great free videos on the NHS website; from Pilates and yoga and meditation to dancing and Strength training. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/
- Dance like no one is watching: You are more likely to stick at something if you enjoy it. If you like dancing stick on some music and dance around the kitchen (music helps to boost your feel good hormones too). My son I currently love boogying along to is “Head and Heart” by Joel Corry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRuOOxF-ENQ
- Gardening! Now that that the weather is getting warmer and our gardens are reawakening, spending time doing some physical work in the garden can boost your mood and help your wellbeing as much as exercise!
- Set some goals: Write down some easy, realistic ‘snack goals’ e.g. this week I’m going to do 10 mins of Pilates per day, 1 live class and 3 x 30 min walks.
- Set a reminder: Set an alarm to remind you to get up and do a ‘movement snack a couple of times a day. Try these midday moves below at lunch-time and also get out of your chair!
- Be prepared: Dress in your workout clothes when you get up and set up your exercise space the night before so you’re ready for action. I try to get up 20-30 minutes before everyone else in the morning so I can do some exercise otherwise I find the day runs away with me.
- Improvise: If you haven’t got all the equipment, you can improvise e.g. use filled water bottles or a backpack filled with cans or books instead of weights. The most interesting alternative to a resistance band used in class was a pair of tights. We found that 40 denier tights had the best elasticity!
- Find a workout buddy: This can be via an app like Zwift or Peloton or simply going for a walk with a friend. Working out with someone else helps you to stay motivated, boosts your performance and can feel like more fun.