Five exercise snacks for better health

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As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to spring clean your exercise routine and move your body more.

It is recommended that we do at least 2½ hours of moderate physical activity per week for good health—but that doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym three times a week. There’s growing evidence through new research that even short bursts of exercise or “exercise snacks” could be good for your fitness and overall health.  

These new studies reinforce the health and lifestyle benefits we can learn from the world’s longest-lived populations. Those living in the world’s Blue Zones have been exercise snacking for years. It’s only now that the rest of us are catching on to the beauty of this simple, yet beneficial approach to living.  

The people of the five Blue Zones—Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; and Nicoya, Costa Rica—ensure they move their body every 20 minutes or so, integrating movement into their day. Try these five exercise snacks to help you stay healthy and happy. 

1. Take the stairs

Have the choice between stairs and an elevator when you arrive at work? Choose the stairs for an exercise snack straight off the bat. Taking the stairs will burn more calories and because your heart will be pumping when you walk in the door your body will be flooded with endorphins, so your mood will be boosted as well!  

 2. Walk the dog

Like us, dogs don’t like to sit still for too long. Let your pooch be your excuse to get up off the couch for a hit of fresh air and feel-good vibes alongside your exercise. Research shows walking every day can be more beneficial than people think, warding off heart disease and stroke. And if your pup picks up the pace in excitement on the way to the park, join in on the enthusiasm. The more quickly you walk the better the health benefits. 

3. Vacuum the house

Household chores are the quintessential incidental exercise. They need to be done and if we do them with gusto, keeping in mind the activity is helping to boost overall health as well as keep the house sparkling, the benefits will be two-fold.  

4. Enjoy music while you cook

Whether you like to bake or only cook to eat, adding some tunes into the mix will get your foot tapping and your heart pumping. Make it something upbeat and groove to the music while you flit around the kitchen making your meal. Moving while you cook will up the vibe, release endorphins and burn more calories.  

5. Plant a veggie patch

Whether you live on acreage or have a tiny courtyard, there’s likely a place for a veggie patch in your home (or windowsill). Gardening not only helps to keep you active, with all that digging, planting and harvesting, but it works wonders for your mental health too. Plus, time spent outdoors provides a hit of vitamin D.

For more information and research references check out the full article on the Sanitarium website:

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