We've all seen those ads and PSAs asking us to move more for health reasons, but with a hectic schedule, how do you find the time to be less sedentary? Movement snacks may be the key! These short bursts of exercise are designed to fit in between other activities, so, if you're short on time, movement snacks can help you improve cardiovascular health, flexibility, and even your mental well-being.
Stretches are excellent ways to move more. If you are a multitasker, you can even fit them in while watching TV or on a (non-video) conference call. General stretches help prepare you for exercise and improve your balance. For example, stretch your hamstrings by sitting on the floor with your legs out straight. Then extend your arms and bend your waist forward. Hold this position for 25 to 30 seconds. Repeat it three to four times before moving on to another stretching exercise. Calf stretches are also easy to do. With one hand on a wall, step one foot back and gently press the heel toward the ground til you feel your lower leg muscles stretching.
Pilates improves balance and coordination and increases core strength, and it's easy to incorporate a short routine into your day. Use a few of the classic Pilates moves, such as roll-ups, supine spine twists, and leg circles will get the muscles and joints moving in just a few minutes. This form of exercise will also help you relax and focus, so you can return to work feeling refreshed after this movement snack.
When was the last time you used a jump rope? Jumping in place improves bone density and boosts your immune system. It also helps reduce blood pressure, improving heart health. So, for a quick movement snack, grab a jump rope and start skipping in your backyard—it's sure to get your heart pumping.
One easy way to fit in a movement snack is to walk or cycle instead of taking the car to run your local errands. You'll save on gas, and you'll also benefit from fresh air and natural movement. On the way back, you'll be adding a little bit of weight with your shopping bags for a (slightly) more strenuous workout.
Yoga improves heart health, reduces inflammation, and strengthens your bones and muscles. It also helps boost your mood and reduce stress. Take a 15-minute break for a movement snack and work through a few yoga positions. Start with a traditional standing pose, move into a downward dog, and finish with a cobra pose. Before long, you'll reap the benefits of feeling healthier by slotting in mini yoga sessions a few times a week.
Getting outdoors is always a good idea! It helps you maintain vitamin D levels, especially in winter. If just wandering your yard doesn't cut it for you, dig in the garden, mow the lawn, or pull those weeds. It's surprising what you can get done in just 15 or 30 minutes. Your garden will benefit from a movement snack—and so will you.