Exercise Fitness Tips Healthy Living
March 13th, 2023
What Is the Healthiest Snack?
What is the healthiest snack? We have the answer: activity snacks! What are they? Activity snacks are small bursts of movement throughout your day – like snacks to keep you going between meals (aka workouts). Though brief, activity snacks can have significant benefits including:
What Is an Activity Snack?
1. Increases Protein Synthesis
Surprisingly, research shows sitting is just as bad as smoking. In fact, sitting is associated with a 147% increased risk of a heart attack. Yet, most of us spend most of our time sitting, whether that’s for work or during our leisure time.
Activity snacks can combat these effects. Little doses of activity during your day can actually fuel protein synthesis, helping us maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart. In fact, one study showed how individuals who sat for seven and a half hours per day, compared to those who did a two-minute walk or 15 body squats every 30 minutes, absorbed fewer amino acids and actually had lower levels of protein synthesis. It doesn’t take much to improve your health, and inevitably, every little bit counts.
2. Enhances Bone and Muscle Strength
With increased protein synthesis, these small movements compound. As a result, we experience improved bone density and muscle strength. We also may find it easier to maintain a healthy weight due to these increased movements and increased muscle mass.
3. Promotes Youthful Skin
While many try various anti-aging creams or beauty regimes to combat age, a better answer might lie in how much exercise you get. Research shows how small bits of movement, like activity snacks, decrease the deterioration of the skin and prevent aging. If you want to maintain your youthfulness, you might just only need a few activity snacks a day.
4. Releases the Growth Hormone and Endorphins
Exercise, even tiny bits of it, can help stimulate the release of the growth hormone, which can help improve metabolic function and release endorphins, which boost our mood and reduce pain.
Scientific studies link long durations of sitting with an increased risk of low back pain. Additionally, sitting all day can lead to muscle atrophy, meaning you lose muscle and support for your joints and body, which may lead to even more pain. Instead, do those small bits of movement. It’s only a little bit, but it counts for a lot.
5. Decreases Stress
As many of us know, exercise has many stress-reducing effects. Rather than stress eating, try stress moving! With the release of endorphins and a decrease in cortisol, you’ll feel that much better afterward.
How Can You Incorporate Activity Snacks Into Your Life?
It doesn’t have to be hard or overly complex!
Incorporating activity snacks into your life may be as simple as setting a timer on your phone every 30 minutes. If you really want your body to work with you (as opposed to against you), movement is key. In fact, two minutes of movement every 30-60 minutes can make all the difference.
Consider standing every hour or performing quick activity snacks such as:
- Wall knee bends
- Wall push-ups
- Quarter squats
- Leg swings
- And more!
Another quick tip is sitting on a swiss ball for even just 30 minutes of your day. Studies indicate sitting on a stability ball reduces the risk of pain by about 21-45%, as well as improves posture, perceived energy levels, and overall balance. This may, then, work to decrease stress further due to less strain on the body, and enhance concentration, due to enhanced energy.
And remember, those activity snacks add up! So, what kind of snack do you want to become a habit? Instead of going for that next sugar high, try combatting your fatigue, boredom, or stress with a quick activity snack!
Need Some hELP?
Are you hesitant about developing a new exercise routine? Our team at Nielsen Fitness is here to help. Whether you’re more comfortable with an online personal trainer or you’re simply looking for the best personal trainers in Toronto, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to get started!
Journal of Applied Psychology: Walking or body weight squat “activity snacks” increase dietary amino acid utilization for myofibrillar protein synthesis during prolonged sitting
PMC: Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging
NCBI: Growth hormone release during acute and chronic aerobic and resistance exercise: recent findings
PMC: Is Objectively Measured Sitting Time Associated with Low Back Pain? A Cross-Sectional Investigation in the NOMAD study
NCBI: Sitting on stability balls: biomechanics evaluation in a workplace setting