Dr Michael Mosley on the benefits of exercise
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As we get older, it is incredibly important that we remain active. Yet studies suggest, 40 percent of middle-aged adults do less than 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking a month. Dr Michael Mosley joined BBC One’s Morning Live on Monday to discuss exercise snacking and how it is as beneficial as 30 minutes of continuous exercise once a day.
The NHS recommends adults should do some type of physical activity every day.
Exercising just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart diseases or stroke.
But the ideal advice is five sessions lasting 30 minutes each.
Dr Michael Mosley, however, suggests exercise snacking is just as beneficial as one 30 minute session and is great for anyone who is time poor.
What is exercise snacking?
“It’s a great name – exercise snacking.” Michael said. “[But there is] no food involved, this is strictly short bursts of exercise.
“We all know we should be doing about 30 minutes a day, 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity.
“But we struggle to fit it into the day quite often, so the idea behind exercise snacking is you can break it down into really, really short sections.
“And it can be as short as a minute or two, it can be a five minute walk,” he told the BBC Morning Live presenters.
“There is research to suggest it is as beneficial as doing it in one chunk and it can be more beneficial.
“It can be something as simple as – and I’ll demonstrate now – getting up and sitting down on your chair,” Michael added.
But can short bursts of moderate exercise really be as good as a longer session?
In a previous BBC Two episode of Michael Mosley: Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, he put exercise snacking to the test.
Volunteers who do far lass than the recommended level of exercise were recruited to take part in a short experiment.
They tried two different approaches; on one day they do 30 minutes of brisk walking all in one go, on another day, they try exercise snacking where they break down that 30 minutes, into six bursts of five minutes, spread throughout the day.
Four weeks later, the volunteers returned to find out whether exercise snacking was more beneficial than the traditional methods of exercise.
When the 30 minutes of walk occurred, the volunteers blood sugar and blood fats were monitored.
On average, they were around 40 percent lower than on the day where you did no exercise at all.
Compared to exercise snacking, very similar results were found – it was around 40 percent.
What are some examples of exercise snacks?
Bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, jogging on the spot, lunges or squats.
If you’ve got a set of stairs, walk up and down at a brisk past to get the blood flowing.
Alternatively, head outside for some fresh air and walk around the block or a few roads.
A quick dog walk can also contribute to the 30 minutes a day.
Strength-based exercise like lifting weights can also increase heart rate.
If you don’t have weights, fill an empty milk jug with water and lift that, alternatively, grab two tinned cans.
But you don’t even necessarily have to get your heart rate up, exercise snacking can be stretching or mobility based too.
Some simple stretches or grabbing a yoga mat to loosen up your body still counts.
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