New Year’s resolution: Have an exercise snack

Pat Salzer, RD

If you’re looking to drop a few pounds or increase your level of physical activity in the new year, resolve to do more snacking – exercise snacking! It is an easy way to incorporate short bursts of activity into your day and combat the negative effects of too much sitting. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program.

Pat Salzer, RD

“Our busy lifestyles often make us feel as though we are on the run, when in fact we spend most of our time sitting,” says Pat Salzer, RD, a wellbeing engagement consultant at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “While it is vital to track the amount of exercise we get, it is just as important to monitor the amount of time we are sedentary.”

Studies of weight control and activity levels show that exercise alone isn’t enough to lose those added pounds. When we sit, the enzymes that are responsible for burning fat shut down. The physiology of sitting affects the body’s ability to dispose of fat and suppresses lipase, a fat splitting enzyme. The result is more retention of fat, a reduction in the good cholesterol known as HDL, and a slower metabolism.

In addition to your normal exercise routine, Salzer offers the following exercise snacks to burn a few calories throughout the day:

  • Start your morning with a quick walk. Lay out your workout clothes the night before so you’re ready to go when the alarm goes off.
  • Make your social activities physically active. Go for a walk as you visit with friends.
  • Take walking breaks instead of coffee breaks.
  • Walk during conference calls or invite colleagues to go on a walking meeting.
  • When your phone rings, make it a habit to stand up to talk.
  • While running errands, walk whenever possible or park at one store and walk to other neighboring stores. 
  • Make the most of your TV time by moving during commercial breaks or strength training as you watch your favorite show.

“Don’t let the cold weather months prevent you from reaching your exercise snacking goals,” says Salzer. “If you prefer to stay indoors, do lunges down your hallway, walk from room to room, or see how long you can hold a plank. You can’t go wrong if you are moving.”

This new year, why not give exercise snacking a try? The only thing to lose is a few unwanted pounds.

Pat Salzer, RD, shares her ideas for exercise snacking on Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s YouTube channel at