Here's how to get fit with exercise snacking!


Snacking is healthy for you. But we don't mean it with regard to food!

The latest fitness trend that is doing the rounds is called exercise snacking, where you break up your workout routine into short, snack-size sessions, instead of one big, continuous workout.

According to a research conducted in New Zealand, exercise snacks may control blood sugar better than a regular workout.In the study, participants who exercised for 12 minutes before breakfast, 12 before lunch, and 12 before dinner had far lower blood sugar levels after dinner than those who exercised only once a day, for 30 minutes before dinner.

Why it works

Exercising in short bursts provides a break from sedentary time, whether it's performed before meals or at other times of the day, says study researcher Dr Jim Cotter, associate professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Weight management expert Dr Amrapali Patil adds, "Apart from controlling blood sugar levels better, exercise snacking also helps curb hunger cravings. Consequently, one automatically feels less tempted to wards unhealthy food. This might help avoid eating disorders such as bingeing, bulimia etc. Since muscular contractions require sugar to fuel them, those with diabetes mellitus can benefit from this mode of exercising as it helps in controlling blood sugar levels better. Studies have also illustrated that it controls blood pressure better in those who are hypertensive."

How long should each session last?

Exercise snacking should ideally be done before breakfast, lunch and dinner. These can be high-in tensity intervals, during which one walks as fast as one can but only for a minute. This is followed by a very low intensity stroll again for a minute. This is to be repeated six times altogether. This brings down the session to a total of 12 minutes.

In some sessions, such a pattern can also be combined with one minute of upper body resistance training of high intensity with thera (latex resistance) bands.

How to do it

Says Patil, "On the treadmill, walk as rapidly as you can for a minute then rest and hurry to the resistance band, rest again and then move again to walking rapidly for a minute. The entire session must span 12 minutes. Instead of running, jogging on the spot can also be done as an alternative."

Consult an expert before trying any new exercise

Dos & Don'ts

Before embarking upon any new exercise regime, please consult your physician, get evaluated for your fitness levels, so as to proceed to any form of exercise in a graded fashion. Sudden bouts of activity may cause inflammation of the heart muscle, which can set a precedence for damage in the future.

Those with diabetes need to modulate their medications so as to avoid hypoglycemia, which might happen possibly during such sessions. Consult your diabetologist or endocrinologist before embarking upon this session.

A mix of a healthy balanced diet, mindfulness and proper physical exercise go a long way in maintaining good health.

Keep your exercise gear comfortable and resistance bands handy.Read more

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