LC Arisman, Certified Personal Trainer
Ooh, exercise snacking! Sounds delicious! Unfortunately, exercise snacking does not involve a tasty treat while riding the stationary bike. Rather, it’s a method of exercising in short bouts performed before a meal. Exercise snacking is an accessible approach to help restore insulin sensitivity and improve metabolic function.
First, a quick and simplified lesson on metabolic processes. When we eat a carbohydrate (fruit, vegetable, whole grain), it is broken down into glucose that floats around in our blood. Insulin links up with that glucose and they go live together in muscles, bones, and the liver as glycogen. Muscles and bones only have so many parking spots available to house glycogen, any remaining goes down to the liver to either be stored there as glycogen or converted into a triglyceride, a blood fat that then circulates our system, waiting to be used. If the triglyceride is not used for energy, it is eventually stored as body fat.
Now for some good news: studies have shown that a series of five to six one-minute exercises performed 30 minutes before a meal can improve insulin sensitivity. By using up the stored glycogen in your muscles, you create a spot for the soon-to-be-eaten plants to go. If that glucose can be stored as glycogen, there will be less remaining to become a blood fat (triglyceride) or body fat (adipose).
Here are a few ways to do it:
At the club: Incline walking. One minute at a brisk pace with enough of an incline to challenge the body and engage as many muscles as possible. Walk for one minute, rest for one minute, and repeat for six rounds.
Where there are stairs: Stair climbing. Depending on the number of stairs, you can repeat a single step up and step down for 20–60 seconds, resting for one minute between each round, or continuously climb and descend a flight of stairs for one minute. Six rounds.
Anywhere you are: Body weight exercises. Select five to six body weight exercises, such as the sit-to-stand, marching in place, standing hamstring curls, seated leg extensions, wall push ups, or calf raises, and perform each for one minute, resting for one minute between exercises.