Why ‘exercise snacking’ could extend your life by two years

Part of the reason, Price believes, is that the messaging around exercise has become too complicated. “I do feel that the notion of ‘moderate exercise’ is slightly misunderstood, making it seem somewhat unattainable to some demographics,” he says. His aim is to simplify the messaging and empower us all to start moving more.

When I tried one of their three signature 25-minute classes, the instructor guided me through a series of breathing and stretching exercises, based on the principals of neuromuscular behavior in order to properly isolate, stabilize and manipulate my muscles. Basically, it was teaching me the correct posture and the right breathing patterns to assist movements that I do every day.

It is crucial that we do because doing nothing at all is deadly. According to government statistics, physical inactivity is associated with one in six deaths in the UK and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually. Around one in three (34 percent) of men and one in two (42 percent) of women are not active enough for good health, with older people less active. Exercise is a magic bullet. In the 2019 Physical Activity Guidelines report, the chief medical officers wrote: “If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.”

But along with adding years to our lives, Prof Mathew Wilson, of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Health and an expert with Movementum, adds that exercise also enables us to live a better life. “The main consideration is around living longer with a higher quality of life in our later years,” he says. “In recent years there has been a decline in the number of years we live in a healthy state: we’re living longer, but with poorer health. This is a huge problem and something that increasing physical activity levels can help re-address so you can enjoy those extra years.”

But building in regular exercise – especially for those unused to doing any – requires a mindset shift. “Being able to sustain small changes in physical activity is as much down to behavior as it is your physical capabilities,” says Dr Heather McKee, a behavioral scientist and movementum expert.

“The people who will be most effective at making a behavioral change and maintaining it over time will be those who are intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation is defined as doing an activity because of the joy and satisfaction it gives you.”

So, what counts as moderate to strenuous physical activity?

“Literally anything, as long as you are moving with purpose,” says Prof Wilson. “Don’t overthink it – gardening, walking, housework, everything counts, and all can be banked as physical activity when looking at minutes achieved.”

Spending time on small, daily movements like these, says Movementum specialist David Higgins, will “keep joints supple, encourage good quality muscle tissue and even help the nervous system remain primed and responsive. All this lessens injury, promotes better strength gain, energy levels and the ability to move more and often.”

One of the most overlooked forms of exercise – often the most enjoyable – is simply a walk with a friend. “Doing regular low-impact activity like this is so beneficial. If you can also catch up with a partner or friends, you will keep each other accountable, and it becomes more enjoyable,” Higgins says. “The most important thing with exercise when trying to embed it as a habit is having fun so that you can continue doing it, every day – or at least as often as you can.”

movementumuk.com

Apps and kit to help add 10 minutes of movement into your day

Start stretching

Whatever our activity levels, most of us could be more flexible. This app teaches basic stretches in a short sequence, with graphics and timers to help. Download in the App Store.

Beats Fit Pro

Beats’ new earphones are designed to be worn all day, but with a tap of a pod can become sweat resistant if you need to drop down and do a workout. £199.99; apple.com

Dancing fit

Cult gym Frame has a library of online videos under 15 minutes, including dance videos, all set to high energy songs with engaging instructors. There’s even a “Fit in 5” video; moveyourframe.com

Lululemon Groove Pants

Flared black trousers that wouldn’t look out of place in a meeting – but are designed to do yoga in. £88; lululemon.co.uk

Time to Walk

Feel like you’re walking alongside guests including Stephen Fry, Dolly Parton and Malala Yousafzai as they narrate the story of their lives while also on a walk. Apple Watch and Apple Fitness+; apple.com

Tree Dasher Running Shoe

Allbirds, known for its casual-cool footwear, has a line of award-winning running shoes made from environmentally friendly materials. £125; allbirds.co.uk

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