Time to rethink the word “snack” and apply it to something other than food.  What about thinking of exercise as a form of a “snack”.  For some, short two-minute exercise bursts throughout the day might be a better strategy than trying to fit in something longer or more complex.  Turning your exercise into a snack lasting one to two minutes can be an easy and effective way to get active that does not require a gym membership, equipment, special gear, or a major time commitment.

New research from the University of Toronto has shown that short bursts of physical exertion spread out through the day can improve metabolic health, enhance your endurance, and keep your muscles from tightening up throughout the day.  The benefits from exercise snacks can be similar to what you would gain by a longer brisk walk or other more traditional workouts.  Doing many “snacks” in a day can also open the door to variety from office chair squats to stair climbing.

Here are some ideas on how to exercise snack:


Pick two to three flights of stairs and quickly (for you) climb and descend these steps two to three times a day.  Do one minute to start and build up to two minutes. Do a snack in the morning, lunchtime, and late afternoon.


Go for a brief 2-minute brisk walk around the halls every half hour.


Every half hour perform some chair squat (put the brakes on your office chair before doing this). Rise up from your chair, right up on to your toes before slowly lowering yourself back into your seat. Repeat these 15 times to complete your snack.

Jumping Jack:

Want to take it up a notch.  Close your office door or find a vacant boardroom and do 12 jumping jacks.

It really doesn’t matter what exercise you choose as long as it gets you up, moving, and will briefly raise your heart rate and breathing for a couple of minutes.  The more snacks you take the better, ideally every 30 min but you can start with every 60mins until you get use to it.