A different kind of snack: the benefits of exercise
Exercising is the single most important thing we can do for our health. The term “exercise” can evoke negative emotions or associations, which is why we prefer to use the term “movement” – we can reap the benefits of physical activity in so many ways beyond the conventional notions of exercise. Movement can be playing with your kids, walking while on the phone, dancing with friends, choosing biking over driving occasionally, or throwing a frisbee around at the beach.
Incorporating physical activity wherever we can benefits us in countless ways. “In the short term, exercise helps to control appetite, boost mood, and improve sleep. In the long term, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and many cancers,” according to Harvard Health Publishing. Research continues to come out showing ever more reasons to move your body regularly, such as the protective impact on our cardiovascular health and mental well-being.
The good news? You don’t need to invest a huge amount of time to reap the benefits. Next time you find yourself needing a break, try an exercise snack, a short burst of movement that can be done practically anywhere. “A number of scientific studies show that exercise snacking several times a day leads to meaningful gains in fitness and overall health. A recent study concluded that even just 4-second bursts of exercise have been shown to improve fitness.”
One popular and easy-to-implement routine is the 7-minute workout, based on high-intensity interval training research by Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, FL. Read more about it here, where you can also find more routines of fast bouts of movement to weave into your day!