SEIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY Add a little more movement to your normal everyday activities.
There is a new conversation happening in the world of health and fitness. It’s timely, exciting and it offers a new perspective on exercise that could help reverse the worrying modern trends of obesity and other conditions associated with a lack of exercise. Welcome to the world of Movement Snacking.
In a box
Exercise has become yet another tick-box task in contemporary society. Many do it begrudgingly, and only because they are told it’s necessary for health. There’s lots of press about how moving less has contributed to us becoming sicker, fatter and dying younger. All this is certainly true. Yet is creates a nasty spectre around exercise. It becomes almost like the clunk of the grim reaper, hunting us down before our time. And so, we ‘schedule’ our exercise, diligently do our 30-minutes of whatever five times a week, when we’d rather be watching the latest Netflix blockbuster or hanging out in the pub.
In short, exercise has become a chore. We’d wouldn’t bother with it if we knew there were no repercussions. Maybe someone will invent a pill!
A new paradigm
Movement snacking is like a spring rain in this desert wasteland of tedium and chore. Instead of scheduling our exercise in 30- to 60-minute blocks a number of times per week, we look for opportunities in our daily lives to add a little more movement.
It’s a blindingly simple yet revolutionary concept. There’s no need to create more time to add movement snacks to your daily routine either. You simply add them to daily routines that you are already doing. This has the added benefit of helping the habit to stick. Your normal daily activity becomes, after a while, a trigger for your movement snacking.
Quality not quantity
A further benefit of movement snacking is that the snacks are short – anything from one minute to ten minutes. To my mind, anything more than ten minutes is dangerously close to an ‘exercise session’.
By keeping them short, you can also focus on the quality of the movement, perhaps only performing two or three slow, deliberate movements in each snack at most. Thus, you bring more presence or mindfulness to your movement practice. This helps remove the tedium that can be associated with exercise and bring you back to the joy of movement.
Movement snacking needs nothing more than your body and your environment. No equipment is required, no gym and no class. Of course, you can employ some easy tools as listed below that will enhance your practice, but they are not pre-requisite.
You can movement snack in your bed, at your kitchen table, while walking to work, driving your car, watching TV and even brushing your teeth. I have practised snacking for a few years and have recently ramped up my practice. I could now do up to 100 short exercise snacks daily. I feel as though I’m constantly moving, as a human should be.
Here are some simple movement snacks to get you started on the road to better mobility and movement freedom.
- Perform Squats whilst brushing your teeth in the mornings
- Do a one minute plank as soon as you get out of bed
- Do hip circles over the back of the kitchen chair while waiting for the kettle to boil
- Balance along the kerb instead of walking on the path
- Sit on a stability ball whilst watching TV
At last, snacking that won’t pile on the pounds! In fact, it will do the opposite.
Paul O’Brien is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 2007 and a qualified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach. He is co-owner of Republic of Fitness in Westport. He can be contacted on 086 1674515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.