Movement Snacks: Perfect Routine for Your Busy Schedule
Are you tired of feeling sluggish or sedentary for missing your daily workouts? Do you feel guilty for lacking time to go to the gym? Well, there might be a solution to staying fit despite your busy schedule, and it’s not complicated as you might think.
Movement snacks are short, simple exercises that can be done throughout the day whenever you have a spare moment. These are quick and easy body movements that are designed to help you maintain your overall physical activity levels and prevent losing your gains.
Movement snacks can be done anytime, wherever you are. It doesn’t matter if you are at home, at work, or on the go. You can perform them without having to change into workout clothes or having any gym equipment with you. Because they’re so short, they virtually don’t impact your schedule.
This article will discuss how movement snacks can help you maintain or increase your gains, improve your physical activity levels, and prevent you from being sedentary.
If you think about it, we have 168 hours per week and spend only 1 to 2 hours per day working out. If we factor in our rest days and other life events, that’s only about 3% to 6% of our week.
Many of us spend the rest of our time sitting and working at a desk, which doesn’t sound too optimal, right? In fact, too much sitting can reduce your flexibility, decrease bone density and muscle strength, and disrupt your digestive and metabolic functions.
If you have movement snacks in your back pockets, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about these things. A quick 10 to 20 reps of bodyweight squats that can be done in 30 to 45 seconds every time you go for a bathroom break is enough to increase blood flow and your heart rate.
In addition, if a 30-minute exercise session seems daunting for you, breaking your exercises into bite-size activities and spreading them throughout the day can be a good start. This eliminates the mental friction of physical activities and allows you to be flexible with your time.
Prevent muscle loss
Taking significant time off your workouts can lead to detraining and muscle loss. Studies show that it would take about 2-3 weeks to see atrophy or muscle wasting due to fluid and glycogen depletion. Hence, movement snacks are your best buddies if you are too busy or on vacation.
When you are stressed, your body is high on a hormone called cortisol, which can negatively affect your health in the long term. Sprinkling short physical activities throughout the day can help regulate your cortisol and reduce feelings of anxiety by providing a physical outlet to release stress and tension.
Adding more physical activities in your daily life can keep your mind engaged. Short exercises can increase blood flow to the brain and help improve attention.
If you are feeling stuck in a rut, incorporating movement snacks can give you a change of pace and help shake things up. Short exercises are still better than zero exercise at all! Plus, it allows you to gradually break the friction of exercising and condition both the body and mind.
Any physical activity burns calories. Certainly, adding more exercise on top of your regular workout session allows you to burn even more calories and keep your weight in check. This can help you lose more fat and stay lean for an even better physique.
Here’s workout plan you should combine with your movement snacks:
Unlike the usual strength training or cardio aerobic exercises, you can do whatever movements or activities you want to perform for your movement snacks. For example, you can do small bouts of stretching, strengthening, or cardio exercises for how long you like in the small gaps in your schedule.
These mini-activities can add up over time and carry over to your training. For example, if you have a tight neck or hamstring muscle, stretching them when you have the time is an excellent start since all those movement snacks will compound over time and give you more flexibility and range of motion.
Even in small and short sessions, exercises can increase endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. These endorphins can help reduce stress and fatigue.
In addition, exercises also improve your mood and stimulate the release of dopamine, which keeps you motivated and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Essentially these are the internal “rewards” for taking care of your health.
Remember that movement snacks are not a substitute for your training and workouts. Instead, think of them as add-ons or stepping-stone activities to help you become more active and healthy.
The key is finding simple ways to explore body movements in small chunks. It would be best to find movements that are fun, easy, and with minimal mental friction to do so they can easily be integrated into your everyday routine.
When it comes to movement snacks, you have the freedom to choose your activities as long as you are moving. Remember that they are not a full workout but a reminder to your body that the movement is important to you and you want to get better at it.
For example, you want to get better at doing push-ups:
- Set up a time when you are going to do push-ups. (example: before every meal)
- Because they are “snacks” and you’re going to do them every day, keep the reps low. 5 to 8 reps are enough.
- You can also set a 2 to 3-hour interval for each set. Use a timer to notify you that it’s time for your movement snack.
The key is to be creative and tailor your snacks to your needs and fit them into your routine in small doses. For example, if you want to improve cardio endurance, you can take a 10-minute walk on your breaks or climb a few stairs every 2 hours.
You can perform movement snacks without any equipment. But if you want to simulate your gym activities, challenge your body further, or be more active, some tools could help you:
- Standing desk
- Door-mounted pull-up bar
- Exercise Ball
- Push-up bars
- Jumping rope
- Foam roller
- Yoga mat
- Resistance band
Movement snacks are a great way to add more physical activity to your day, improve overall health, and boost energy levels. But they should be done in addition to regular exercise and healthy habits, not as a substitute for them.