If you feel like an overcrowded keelbasa in your clothes, it may not take Herculean effort to get back on track. Exercise scientists at the University of British Columbia found that just 15 to 30 seconds of aerobic activity, like climbing stairs done once an hour for eight hours, can greatly improve your health when you’re packing a few pounds too much.
In particular, just two to four minutes of exercise during the work day when you were otherwise seated at your desk jockey job can lower insulin levels, a marker of diabetes and heart disease, the study said. It’s a concept that researchers call “exercise snacking” – bite-sized movements that result in a big punch.
“Even for a single day of snacks in sports, the effects on improved metabolism are immediately noticeable,” says Jonathan Little, co-author of the study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Here’s why practice snacks work: “If we are seated for several hours during the working day, our muscles are not used and our metabolism is reduced,” explains Little. “The result is that we can become insulin resistant. But even a 15-second training snack every hour seems to increase sensitivity to insulin, so that the muscles and other body tissues can process nutrients more efficiently and our metabolism is improved. “
No stairs in your office? Try running in place, jumping jacks, squats, skaters, pushups, burpees, or lunges. “Basically, anything that makes your heart beat faster counts,” says Little.
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