Exercise Snacking: The Workout Plan You Should Know About

Improve your health with short bursts of exercise.

By Jasmin Boyce
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One of the most common excuses for not getting to the gym or skipping a workout class is lack of time. A study has shown that the remedy for this excuse is a new form of working out that won’t suck up all your precious time — exercise snacking.

No, this doesn’t mean you should snack while exercising. Instead, this fitness regimen consists of breaking a single workout into shorter periods of exercise (aka "snacks") spread throughout your daily routine. This workout method is perfect for a person who is always busy, and if that sounds like you then here’s why this exercise routine will be your new best friend.

All You Need is a Staircase

Owning exercise equipment, or buying a gym membership, can add up to a hefty price tag. Instead, researchers suggest an exercise snack of climbing three flights of stairs (equivalent to 60 steps).

Researchers recommend three exercise snacks per day but say you should wait one to four hours between your snacks for optimal benefits.

Tip: Make this attainable by skipping the elevator when possible, climbing the stairs in your apartment building, or using the stairs in your home.

More Time to Do the Things You Love

Participants of the study were instructed to complete a single exercise snack in three 20-second all-out sprints with a break of two minutes in between each sprint for recovery.

That means one set would only take five minutes to complete.

Rather than carving out space in your calendar for a 30-minute workout, exercise snacking will help you to achieve the same goal with little impact on your schedule and leave more time in your day for the activities you enjoy.

Not sure when to exercise snack? Try incorporating a small exercise snack on your lunch break at work or during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show.

Improves Your Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Cardiorespiratory fitness is the strength level and health of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. When your cardiorespiratory fitness is low, the risk of cardiovascular disease is high.

Researchers found that exercise snacking increases cardiorespiratory fitness by five percent in healthy sedentary adults, which boosts health and lowers the risk for life-threatening health issues.

How to Get Started

So you like this exercise snacking concept but don't know where to start?

Luckily, there are a variety of cardio exercises you can snack on throughout your day other than the stair climbing that was specifically listed in the study.  

Jump Roping

Jump roping simultaneously tones your upper body and lower body, engaging your arms, legs, and core. To snack on this exercise, jump rope at a high-intensity speed for 20-seconds. Repeat this two more times with a break of two minutes in between each set to recover.

Dancing

A five-minute dance session is a fun way to switch up your stair climbing snacks. Dancing is an effective form of cardio that can help to tone various muscles throughout your body as well as burn calories. Turn on your favorite upbeat song and dance at a high-intensity pace for 30-seconds. Repeat this format until you finish your song.

Jumping Jacks

The exercises that burn the most calories are ones that engage multiple body parts, like jumping jacks. Complete three 20-second intervals of high-intensity jumping jacks with a break of two minutes in between. 

Related:

9 HIIT Exercises to Get Fit

6 Reasons to Walk Daily

5 Ways to Stay Healthy When You Can’t Workout

Article written by Jasmin Boyce