Physical Inactivity is an ongoing global health concern. Regular physical activity has the potential to prevent 46% of deaths related to inactivity. It has also been shown to strengthen our immune system as we age, lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as dementia, various cancers and strokes, while improving mental well-being and reducing anxiety and depression. Despite the benefits, many people struggle to maintain a regular physical activity routine.
A study by academics at the Universities of Derby and Plymouth shows that compared to their pre-pandemic levels of activity, 70% of study participants reported having a more sedentary lifestyle. It recommends that employers should adapt remote working policies to target physical activity, stress and diet.
Another study concludes that workers who telecommuted were less physically active and had longer sedentary during work time than those who worked at the workplaces. Working from Home affects physical and mental health.
In the current climate, with many still Working from Home and the imminent return to the office or a potential Hybrid model for most, the mental & physical health benefits of exercise are more important than ever.
Physical Activity helps you destress, increase productivity & creativity, boost workplace morale and get healthier. Physical activity will help strengthen your immune system, help fight infection, reduce risks of chronic illnesses and reduce anxiety.
Lavina Mehta MBE encourages us all to start “Exercise Snacking!” Lavina has been featured on TV, Radio & Press, and her concept of Exercise Snacking impressed Sky News and was discussed in her first interview back in December 2019, when she was a recently qualified Personal Trainer. The interview also featured her early vision of encouraging Home Workouts with tins/bottles, way before the pandemic revolutionised the fitness industry and this became reality!
Lavina came up with the idea to start providing Lunchtime Exercise Snacks with her husband and son to encourage all ages to come together as a virtual community and use exercise to boost immune systems, boost moods and combat loneliness at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 (before PTs even started going live or providing free content.) Since then, she has reached thousands globally through the power of social media, with an Instagram following of over 50K, and streams workouts for all ages, up to 100 on all her platforms including You Tube, Facebook & Zoom also.
Lavina’s slogan since the start of the pandemic has been to “EXERCISE FOR SANITY NOT VANITY” and was on TV & radio from Lockdown 1.0, promoting turning Work from Home to “Workout from Home”.
Her concept of Exercise Snacking is FREE, quick, easy, fun, time efficient, accessible and quick to build into your everyday busy lives. Rather than doing 30/60 minutes of exercise all in one go, you can break it into smaller ‘bitesize snacks’ through the day, which have the same health benefits. Think of them as a treat for your body & mind! It’s the healthiest form of snacking around!
Lavina poses the questions:
- How many of you currently exercise regularly and hit the recommended guidelines of physical activity per week:
- 150 mins of moderate intensity aerobic activity
- Or 75 mins of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (or a combination of both)
- Plus 2-3 strength training workouts
- How many of you are short on time?
- How many of you lack knowledge on what to do?
- How many of you have gym membership & are making use of it?
- How many of you feel more confident Working Out From Home?
- How many of you have diabetes or heart disease in your family?
Exercise Snacking helps break the common barriers of time, cost & motivation. Lavina recommends snacking on 5/10 minute bitesize/bouts of exercise throughout the day. She has snacks covering HIIT, Strength, Mobility, Cardio & Stretch Snacks to help you Feel Good in 5/10 mins.
Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult or cost anything. Try snacking on exercise through the day, it’s the healthiest form of snacking around! That may be as easy as doing a 10 minute walk snack after each meal or doing a stair snack by climbing 3 flights of stairs, 3 times a day!
Lavina encourages everyone to start off small and gradually build up to hitting the government guidelines of physical activity, which are to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, plus a minimum of 2 strength training workouts a week. The more you do the better it is for your health. Find something you enjoy and she guarantees it will make you feel good.
As an Ambassador for the Diabetes UK Charity, Lavina was fascinated to see that Exercise snacking benefits were first outlined in a 2014 study published in the Journal Diabetologia, which found that “dosing exercise as brief, intense exercise snacks before a main meals is a time efficient and effective approach to improve glycaemic control for individuals with insulin resistance.” Studies show that exercise snacks/small bursts can lead to a 40% reduction in blood sugar and blood fat levels.
Exercise snacking could trump a single 30 minute session as it encourages regular movement throughout the day and is less likely to result in long amounts of time sitting, that are linked to slow metabolism, poor blood sugar control and a decrease in the body’s ability to effectively break down fat.
Whether it’s getting off a stop earlier on our commute or taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you’re back in the office. If you’re Working from Home maybe a Mobility or Stretch Snack at your desk, or even a Strength/Cardio Snack with your Zoom Camera’s off or a walking meeting if you’re not required on camera. Set an alarm every hour for a 5 minute Exercise Snack and not only will it boost your physical health but also your mental health.