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How Exercise Snacks Can Help You Live Longer: Insights from Recent Research

☞ "Exercise Snacks" can reduce cancer and all-cause mortality by approximately 20-40%. That's HUGE!

What Are Exercise Snacks?

You’ve probably heard that regular exercise is good for your health, but what if you don’t have time for lengthy gym sessions? Exciting new research on Exercise Snacks by Jones et al. suggests that "exercise snacks" — short, frequent bursts of physical activity lasting only 1-10 minutes — can significantly improve your health and even help you live longer.

Think of Exercise Snacks as quick mini-workouts or short, manageable bouts of physical activity that you can do throughout your day. For instance, you might do a set of jumping jacks during a TV commercial, or take a brisk walk during a coffee break at work, or jump on your Gibboard for a few minutes in the midst of writing a blog post!

A photo of The author taking an exercise break from writing!
The author taking an exercise break from writing!

Let’s dive into what this means and how it can reduce your risk of dying from any cause.

What Did the Study Explore?

The study by Jones and colleagues reviewed various types of research to understand the impact of these exercise snacks on health and longevity. They looked at:

  • Epidemiological Studies: These studies analyze large groups of people to find patterns between intermittent physical activity and health outcomes.

  • Experimental Studies: These involve controlled trials where participants engage in exercise snacks to measure direct health effects.

  • Qualitative Studies: These gather personal experiences and attitudes towards doing these brief, frequent exercises.  

Exercise Snacks: Key Findings on Health and Longevity

1. Reduction in All-Cause Mortality:

  • Improved Heart Health: Regular short bouts of exercise can strengthen your heart, reducing the risk of heart disease—a major cause of death worldwide.

  • Enhanced Metabolism: These mini-workouts help maintain a healthy metabolism, which is crucial for managing weight and preventing diseases like diabetes.

  • Muscle Strength and Mobility: Maintaining muscle strength, especially as you age, helps prevent falls and injuries, which can be serious and even life-threatening.

2. Feasibility and Sustainability:

  • Easy Integration: Exercise snacks are easy to fit into your daily routine, making them more sustainable over the long term compared to longer workout sessions.

  • Positive Feedback: People generally find these mini-exercises more appealing and easier to stick with, which means they’re more likely to stay active regularly.  

How to Incorporate Exercise Snacks into Your Day

  • Set a Reminder: Use your phone or watch to remind you to get up and move every hour.

  • During Downtime: Use commercial breaks or the time waiting for your coffee to brew for quick exercises like squats, lunges, counter push ups, or hopping.

  • Dance: Put on your favorite song and dance like no one's watching!

  • Active Commutes: Park further away from the entrance or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  • Desk Exercises: Do leg lifts or seated marches while working at your desk.  

Why Exercise Snacks Matter for Your Longevity

Staying active with exercise snacks can make a significant difference in your overall health and longevity. By incorporating these small, frequent bouts of activity into your day, you can reduce your risk of major health issues that contribute to mortality. Essentially, you’re making a series of small investments in your health that can add up to big returns over time.

Now... Go have a snack!

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