What Is Exercise Snacking?

New Study Says Just A Few Minutes Of Stair Climbing Can Boost Your Health

OK so there’s much written about how exercise is good for you and that healthy snacks are what’s best, but we don’t hear much about exercise and snacking together. Well, exercise snacking is the new terminology for doing short laps of brisk exercise with a good rest in between.

For instance we know about interval exercise which for example could be walking at four mile an hour pace four ten minutes then speeding up to five or six miles an hour pace for five or ten minutes to the point of breaking sweat then slowing back down then repeating the process over again for about a half hour.

Well with snack exercising you would exercise three or four times a day for short periods, like brisk walking or passing up the elevator and taking the stairs with some rest in between.

A recent study conducted by researchers at McMaster University and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus in Canada focused on stair climbing particularly and its affects on cardiovascular health and the results were were really encouraging.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and reported that the results even surprised the authors of the study.

A group of sedentary adults were asked to climb three flights of stairs three times a day with anywhere from one to four hours of rest in-between for three days a week for six weeks.  The group participants had their cardiorespiratorycondition measured especially their peak oxygen uptake. The benefits from this exercise snacking resultedin improved cardiorespiratoryfitness, a boosting of their strength, and more power when they were given a cycling test.

 “We know that sprint interval training works, but we were a bit surprised to see that the stair snacking approach was also effective,” said Jonathan Little, an assistant professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and a co-author of the study.

This is great news for senior adults who may not be able to have access to a health gym or the monies for membership.  If they live in an apartment building they could just walk up and down stairs three or four times a day before their meals or walk up and down hallways or around the block at a brisk pace for fifteen to twenty minutes to improve their heart health.

Exercise snacking can easily be included into one’s work day as well. Martin Gibala, a kinesiology professor at McMaster University says, “Those who work in office towers or live in apartment buildings can vigorously climb a few flights of stairs in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening and know they are getting an effective workout.”