Exercise Snacks

with Tracey Rich

I love to snack, so, of course, I love this concept. It's also the way I live my life, grazing my way through the day with food and fitness. Who knew this had a name. And such a cute name. I read the title of an article about this concept from a Dr. Mark Hyman newsletter and was all in even before I read the short piece with its accompanying study a day or two later. I happen to like my version better. But, it was good to know there was a name to go with my natural habits.

Exercise snacks, in the original, are intended to be around one minute or less of moderate to intense exertion many times throughout the day for increased cardio-respiratory well-being. My snacks are bite- size engagements that aim for balanced well-being with bits of strength, balance, and flexibility focus, cardio and lung challenge, and nibbles of core work. Yoga poses are perfect for snacking and daily lifestyle choices fold into this concept so easily.

Here are some of my daily lifestyle and yoga snacks that will keep you fit for all of your other beloved indulgences.

  • I go up and down stairs numerous times a day in my regular flow, but taking an extra round or two of stairs is a challenge I try to entice myself with.
  • I hike the hills and walk the flats of my neighborhood daily. Walking the dog, or should I say the dog walking me, is a built-in opportunity.
  • I often park farther away in parking lots, as we all know to do, even though its hard to pass up a prime parking spot.
  • I pay attention to how I carry things, challenging myself with the weight of grocery bags  or landscaping sacks of soil, but always making sure my joints are safe and supported. Especially keeping in mind the placement of my neck on my shoulders and relaxing my neck when carrying heavy items.
  • I practice push-ups using different hand positions--twelve o'clock, three and nine o'clock, and about ten and two o'clock--at my counter, sink, tub side, and counter stools several times a day.
  • Forearm and regular planks, along with down dogs throughout the day, feel great and reengage the core.
  • Side stretches, standing back arches, and twists are available to do anywhere and refresh energy by releasing tension and compression along the spine.
  • Tadasana is a no brainer standing in lines and even provide a momentary meditation and reminder to breathe.
  • Finally, I am prone to dance outbursts when the music is right and the spirit moves me, which is often.