Today is January 21st, the 21st day of 2021. I don’t know about you, but I feel some optimism that we will make through COVID. However, it will take some time to vaccinate all who need to be vaccinated to keep us safe. And, that means work for home is going to be the norm for most of 2021.
One of the downsides about virtual work from home is that you are sitting most of the day. Even worse than being sedentary, you have easy access to your kitchen for stress eating. And, this combination can add a few pandemic pounds if you aren’t careful.
I’ve written about and have been interviewed about my #fakecommute (most recently on CCN), but I also discovered another simple practice that is good for your mental health and your waistline. It’s called “Exercise Snacking.”
Exercise snacking refers to “fun-sized” portions of exercise that fit into a day instead of what you may have traditionally thought of as “legit exercise” — like aerobics class at the gym. If you are working from home, it makes a lot of sense to slot mini-workouts throughout the day – and it is efficient.
But does it offer the same fitness and health benefits as a Zumba class? One of the first research studies published in the journal Diabetologia found that “dosing exercise as brief, intense ‘exercise snacks’ before main meals is a time-efficient and effective approach to improve glycaemic control in individuals with insulin resistance.” A number of scientific studies have also found similar benefits.
Medical and health professionals also suggest that exercise snacking encourages regular movement throughout the day and that is less likely to result in sitting too much. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to slow metabolism, poor blood sugar control, and a decrease in the body’s ability to effectively break down fat. In addition to the mental health benefits of improving your mood, moving your body also brings blood to the brain that helps you think more clearly and boosts personal productivity.
One of the ways that I incorporate exercise snacking is to take a brief break after each ninety-minute work stretch – whether just walking from one end of my house to the other, doing a few jumping jacks, or a walk around the block. It really helps reset my mind and body – and fight virtual fatigue.
Here are some tips and additional ideas for incorporating exercise snacking into your work-from-home day.
- Stretch between meetings
- Set reminders on your iPhone or watch (Fitbit has this feature built into its software) or add to your calendar
- Add music to your movement moments
- Try habit stacking to make it routine (add on to an existing ritual)
- Do leg lifts while on a conference call (with the video off!)
- Do a five-minute workout or seven-minute workout
- Try desk yoga
What are some ways that you incorporate exercise snacking into your routine?
10 Creative Ways To Incorporate Quick Bursts of Exercise – Thrive Global
Try Exercise Snacks – Get the Gloss
Exercise Snacking Week – Good Morning America
7-Minute Exercise Snack – New York Times
How To Stay Fit WFH – Exercise Snacking – Inc