Exercise’s a snack
THERE’S a new way to snack and it’s going to get you moving and make you feel good about yourself; it’s called exercise snacking.
Before you pick up a morning biscuit or an afternoon piece of cake, for a few minutes each time, try some simple strength and resistance exercises.
If you haven’t done this before, then now is a good time to start. If you think that just doing a daily walk is sufficient exercise, think again.
“Walking doesn’t provide enough stimuli for either bone or muscle,” Deakin University’s chair of exercise and ageing Professor Robin Daly says. “There are cardiovascular benefits from walking. I am certainly not saying ‘Don’t walk’. It’s good for your functional performance but walking doesn’t provide the stimulus needed to help prevent muscle loss or improve bone density.
“Muscles like stress and strain,” he adds. “What is needed are strength and resistance exercises.”
Adding into your daily “huff and puff” exercise program should be at least two muscle strengthening sessions each week but preferably every day.
Where to start? Professor Daly suggests start with ‘snacking’.
It’s probably a better way of starting to add strength and resistance exercises into your day. It also makes it easier to sustain them over a long period if they are done during the day whenever it suits you.
“Waiting for the kettle to boil, let’s do some squats or lunges,” Professor Daly suggests.
“There’s a TV commercial, let’s stand up and so do some balancing on one leg or heeltoe walking.”
By the end of your day you could find you have completed 15 or 20 minutes of valuable strength and resistance exercises through these short sessions.
Queensland Health’s Over 60s Workout has some great ideas and instructions to help you to get snacking; go to healthier.qld.gov.au/fitness/
Raid the pantry and grab two food cans or use two full bottles of water and practise your bicep curls.
Hold the back of a dining chair if you may be unsure of your balance, and bend at the knees and hips, sticking your bottom out.
“Progressively do a little bit more. You might progress from 10 to 20 or you might add a bit of resistance,” Professor Daly recommends.
Gradually increasing the speed of your exercises can help you improve your confidence in responding to a potential fall.
If you have concerns about starting snacking exercises, first consult your GP.
IT’S A SNACK: The idea is to snack on exercises – do little bits of bite-sized pieces of exercise. And if you snack like these women, exercise like the men.