I’ve been wanting to get back into shape for a long time now, as since the pandemic, I’ve put on a lot of weight. This just magnified my binge eating and general poor relationship with food, because I was scared my pre-existing health issues would put me at greater risk. Thus, I stayed locked away at home. And then there was long-covid. However, there was a time when I did engage in micro workouts that used to be quite effective for me. Thus, I’m considering getting back into that habit to ease myself back into exercising and building my stamina. Hence this article.
What Are Micro Workouts And Exercise Snacking?
Essentially, micro workouts and exercise snacking are the same thing. The only difference is exercise snacking is the new term for it that has been capturing the headlines recently. According to Dr. Mosley and Smith and BS-Dietetics (n.d.) micro workouts and exercise snacking are short bursts of exercise. To make this akin to snacking, and living up to the exercise snacking name, you should be engaging in these micro workouts several times a day. This reflects how you would snack several times a day for optimal energy levels. Much like you’d do with a food schedule and a meal planner.
The Benefits Of Micro Workouts And Exercise Snacking
The key benefit of following exercise snacking to engage in micro workouts is that each session is short. So, if you have stamina and exercise intolerance issues like I do, this can help you get healthier without taxing your body too much.
Removing the time limitations from exercising can also make exercising more appealing and more achievable. This has led to a rise in micro workouts on platforms like TikTok, causing this wellness trend to boom (Forbes).
Squeezing in micro workouts during your day, such as during an ad break in the TV show you’re watching, is a lot easier than going to the gym. When you go to the gym, you have to get ready, travel to the gym, workout, and either wash at the gym or go home and wash. Before you know it, that 30-60 minute workout at the gym has doubled or even tripled in the amount of time it takes when everything else is factored in.
This makes micro workouts and exercise snacking great for our self-care, as we can do it anytime we like and with minimal preparation. Like I said in my bed rotting article, choosing low-effort self-care is a form of self-care in itself.
Although one exercise session of 30 minutes as part of a routine will improve your health, each micro workout can add up to 30 minutes when done right. Dr. Mosley also argues that micro workouts might be better for us than a standard 30-minute session. That’s because the short bursts of exercise help burn calories, help lose more weight, help improve your blood glucose, and help blood pressure to a greater degree. This is because you’re activating your metabolism multiple times throughout the day, rather than just once and going back to being sedentary.
Not only that, but engaging in micro workouts and exercise snacking can lead to a better increase in overall physical activity levels. They can improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility over time. And more importantly, because it’s exercise, it has a positive effect on your mental health as well, reducing stress and helping to boost your mood. This makes micro workouts and exercise snacking an ideal self-care activity for if you’re feeling stressed or depressed because it can be done in small manageable chunks.
How To Take Advantage Of Micro Workouts And Exercise Snacking
Because micro workouts and exercise snacking are short bursts of intentional exercise lasting just a few minutes, they are designed to be quick and efficient, making them easy to fit into busy schedules. Micro workouts and exercise snacking can include exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, or even a quick bit of jogging on the spot. They can be done during short breaks while waiting for something, or any other free moments throughout the day.
Dr. Mosley suggests trying to do three micro workouts of 10 minutes or even six sets of five minutes a day. But If you ask me, fit in as many as you want, but start small and work your way up so your body can ease into it. There’s nothing worse than overdoing it on your first day of exercising and having every muscle in your body hurt.
So, if you still watch TV with adverts, you could use those ad breaks to fit in some micro workouts. You could also fit in a quick micro workout during your lunch break, before you eat breakfast, etc. There are so many opportunities to fit in some micro workouts and exercise snacking. Just have a think about it and see what you can come up with.
Examples of micro workouts taken from Smith and BS-Dietetics (n.d.):
- Jog in place for 60 seconds.
- Burpees for 30 seconds.
- Calf raises.
- Bicep curls with dumbbells (I used to do this one a lot, back in the day, during ad breaks while watching TV).
Micro workouts and exercise snacking certainly have a role to play in our wellbeing and wellness, as well as with our fitness goals. Accumulatively, they can offer us the exact same benefits as regular exercise sessions, with the possibility of giving more benefits than a regular exercise session. And who wouldn’t want that?
All in all, there are no real downsides to engaging with this kind of exercise, because it’s all beneficial to our health. What’s more, because it focuses on small manageable amounts of exercise, there’s no real excuse not to give it a try. So will you give micro workouts and exercise snacking a try?
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with micro workouts and exercise snacking in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.