Invalid Date · blog

Don’t worry about going to the gym! Shorter bursts of exercise could be better for you

Invalid Date

Don’t worry about going to the gym! Shorter bursts of exercise could be better for you

Fitting in the exercise you’re meant to do can be tough. But recent research has presented a surprising solution: “exercise snacking”. Breaking down your daily exercise into smaller chunks could be just as good for you as one 30-minute session and possibly even more beneficial. 

Exercise less, but more often 

In the UK, most of us don’t meet the physical activity guidelines – 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week can seem like a serious challenge. Wouldn’t it be ideal if we could just fit in all the exercise we need to do in the week into five- or ten-minute bursts and get the same benefits? A little stair-climbing here, some moderate-intensity cycling there, a quick fast-paced walk at lunchtime. 

How does it work? 

Dr Murphy has been researching the concept of exercise snacking since it first emerged. She explains that when we break up exercise into smaller chunks, it increases the number of times we’re stimulating our metabolism. “When we stop exercising, our metabolism keeps going a little bit quicker while we recover,” she explains. Over the course of the day or week, this might lead to us expending more energy than we would have in one long session. 

But it’s not only busting fat, reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol that exercise snacking is good for. Dr Murphy explains that when we exercise, we contract our muscles, and in the process, glucose moves from the blood and into muscle. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who were asked to do just six, one-minute boosts of exercise had better control of their blood sugar levels not only on that day, but also for the 24 hours following! This particular mechanism maintains better control over our blood sugar, and in the long run, may help reduce our risk of type 2 diabetes.