You’re short on time, but your neck feels strained, your lower back is stiff, and your shoulders are hiked up to your ears. Does that sound familiar to you or your clients?
Take a movement break, also known as an ‘exercise snack.’
In this 9-minute video, Merrithew® Lead Instructor Trainer Lisa Kaye takes you through a few easy mobilization exercises that you can do right now at your desk.
These exercises will remind you to breathe deeply, help you mobilize your torso and spine, and allow you to relieve stress and tension in the hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck. She even has a few tips for how to give your eyes a rest too.
Snack on movement: Short bursts more often
With many people working and studying from home these days because of the pandemic, most of us are spending more time being sedentary.
The good news is, small bouts of exercise can improve fitness, as researchers at McMaster University in Canada discovered. They got a group of sedentary young adults to sprint up a set of 60-stairs three times a day, three days a week for six weeks. The group’s cardiorespiratory fitness improved modestly, but their peak power output was significantly higher than the control group who didn’t participate in the stair climb.
Perhaps most promising was the fact that a “stair climbing exercise snacking protocol was feasible, and well-tolerated by sedentary individuals, and improved functional performance.”
By encouraging people to break up their day of sitting with a few easy ‘exercise snacks’ that require minimal planning and effort, they might be more likely to commit to it.
So how can you make an ‘exercise snack’ habit stick?
Here are some tips:
- Make moving more part of your daily routine: Schedule in 10-minute movement breaks at different intervals throughout your day. Plan your week of ‘exercise snacks’ in advance so you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Start with minimal planning, low-effort movement breaks: Do some stretches or mobilization exercises at your desk or on your yoga mat. Here’s a great Pilates Matwork sequence to get you started. You can also do quick cardio bursts in place by doing some high knees, running on the spot, jumping rope, weighted squats and burpees. If you live or work in a building, and it’s safe to be in the stairwell, add in some quick stair intervals.
- Enjoy some fresh air with your household: Get outside and take a walk with a podcast, book on tape, music or with a member of your household. Exercising together will help you stay motivated.
- Experiment with different movement styles to find your fit: The only way you’ll find out what type of exercise you like best is if you try different methods. It will also keep your exercise routine more exciting if you mix it up. Maybe one day try a fun STOTT PILATES® mindful movement stretch with your kids, and the next use a Flex-Band Loop® for a bicep, glutes and leg burn. Find what makes you excited and motivated to move every day!
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