Exercise Snacking: The deliciously effective fitness trend you can't afford to miss

Dishing up wellness in bite-sized pieces for busy bodies

Time to read: 5 minutes

Exercise Snacking: The deliciously effective fitness trend you can't afford to miss

Have you ever tried to cram a full-course meal into a snack box? Of course not! Just as a gourmet dinner can't fit into a lunch bag, traditional long workout sessions often can't squeeze into our busy schedules. And here’s the real deal: it doesn't have to.

Welcome to the era of 'Exercise Snacking'; like eating small, nourishing snacks throughout the day, we're swapping that one-hour sweat session with brief, intense bursts of activity scattered across our workday. Whether it's a quick jog between meetings, a power-packed 5-minute strength training after lunch, or some yoga poses to wind down after work, every bit contributes to our wellbeing. It’s like having your cake and eating it, but in this case, your cake is fitness, and the slices are bite-sized exercise snacks!

Now, before you grab your metaphorical forks, here's how you can serve up a menu of exercise snacks in your organization:

1. Create an exercise menu:

When you think of snacking, the first thing that comes to mind is variety. Similarly, exercise snacking calls for an array of options to cater to the different fitness preferences and capabilities within your team. As the chef of this health initiative, compile a comprehensive 'exercise menu'. This should include a range of workouts, from light, low-impact stretches that can be done right at the desk, to high-intensity bodyweight exercises that can get the heart racing in a matter of minutes.

Don’t forget to sprinkle in a little fun! Consider introducing some dance-based workouts or office-friendly variations of popular sports to inject a playful element into the mix. Remember, the aim is to make exercise an enjoyable break, not a chore.

Sharing this menu can be as easy as sending an email or publishing it on your company's internal communication platforms. Regular updates and seasonal changes to the menu can ensure it doesn't become monotonous. You might even invite employees to contribute their favorite 'snackable' exercises to the menu, fostering greater engagement and ownership.

2. Set a 'move-alarm':

Have you ever been so engrossed in work that you lost track of time? It happens to the best of us. To help your team remember their exercise snacks, encourage everyone to set reminders. This could be a simple alarm every few hours or perhaps an office-wide alert system if your infrastructure allows for it.

Imagine the unity and camaraderie that would be fostered if the entire office collectively stood up from their desks to perform a series of chair squats or wall push-ups! Not only would this offer a moment of light-hearted fun, it would also serve to break the monotony of the workday, reinvigorating everyone for the tasks at hand. Plus, these regular movement breaks can enhance focus and productivity, so it's a win-win!

3. Introduce 'fitness fridays':

Who doesn't love the sound of the weekend approaching? To ramp up the excitement, why not introduce 'Fitness Fridays'; a dedicated hour at the end of the week for employees to partake in their chosen exercise snacks. You could even invite local fitness experts to conduct these short sessions, offering your team an opportunity to experience a variety of workouts and perhaps discover a new favorite.

The smorgasbord of exercise options can range from Pilates and yoga to Zumba and kickboxing. These expert-led sessions can provide employees with the correct techniques and postures, ensuring they are getting the most out of their exercise snacks while minimizing the risk of injury. Moreover, 'Fitness Fridays' can motivate employees to continue their exercise snacking routine over the weekend, fostering a regular exercise habit.

4. Celebrate movement in all forms:

Exercise snacking is not about fostering a competitive sports environment. Instead, it's about celebrating movement in all its forms, acknowledging the fact that every bit of physical activity contributes positively to our overall wellness. This is crucial in building a fitness culture that is inclusive, encouraging, and accessible to all, regardless of individual fitness levels or preferences.

To foster this culture, consider setting up a company-wide platform where employees can share their daily 'exercise snacks', regardless of how big or small they might be. This can range from a quick stair-climbing session to a leisurely walk in the park during lunch. By celebrating every effort, you're creating an environment that values progress over perfection.

This strategy can also help employees understand that fitness is not a destination but a lifelong journey, and every step taken is a victory in itself. So, cheer on the team member who chose to take the stairs over the elevator, applaud the colleague who managed to squeeze in a quick yoga session during lunch, and create a corporate culture that values and encourages movement, one 'snack' at a time.

It's about time we let go of the 'all or nothing' approach towards exercise. With exercise snacking, we're embracing a more inclusive and achievable model of fitness that fits comfortably into our packed lives.

As an HR manager, you are a wellness ambassador, leading the charge towards healthier habits. Don your exercise gear, invite your team for a quick exercise snack, and create ripples of positive energy that will reverberate through your corporate culture.

Let's make exercise snacking a delightful ritual. After all, who doesn't love (healthy) snacking?