Pushups anywhere anytime / RDNE Stock Project

What are exercise snacks? Sounds like maybe it’s a protein bar or energy drink. Nope. It has nothing to do with food. Exercise snacks are short bursts of physical activity performed throughout the day. In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for exercise can be challenging, especially for individuals with busy schedules. However, a workout doesn’t need to be 90 minutes. It can be only 10 minutes or less and especially effective if you do such brief workouts multiple times in a day. Let’s explore the power of exercise snacks and how they can be integrated into your daily routine at home, in the park, and even in the office.


Resistance training can be done with minimal equipment and worked into a busy routine at home, at work, in a hotel, or almost anywhere.


Bodyweight exercises are a convenient way to incorporate resistance training without the need for equipment. Examples include pushups, squats, lunges, planks, and glute bridges. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups, promote strength development, and can be performed almost anywhere. Aim for a set of 10-15 repetitions for each exercise during your exercise snack. [1]

exercise snacks
Office squats / Pexels

For bodyweight exercises for every body part, check out: Bodyweight Training Guide


Resistance bands are portable, affordable, and versatile tools for strength training. Exercises such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, lateral band walks, and seated rows can be easily incorporated into your exercise snacks. Perform 10-15 repetitions of each exercise with a resistance band that challenges you without compromising proper form. [2]


If you have access to dumbbells, even a short weight training session can be highly effective. Choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-15 repetitions with proper form. Exercises like dumbbell shoulder presses, bent-over rows, goblet squats, and dumbbell lunges target multiple muscle groups and can be performed in a short amount of time.

exercise snacks dumbbell
Curling PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells. / RYDE Stock Project


Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that engages the whole body, including the legs, core, and shoulders. They provide cardiovascular benefits while also building strength and power. Start with a light to moderate kettlebell weight and perform 10-15 swings in a controlled manner. [3]


Wall sits are a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening your leg muscles. By sliding down into a seated position with your back against the wall and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, you engage your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Holding the position for as long as you can will help build endurance and improve lower body strength.


You don’t need 30 minutes and a gym for cardio. You can get the same fat-burning and cardiovascular benefits by doing short busts of cardio outside of the gym throughout the day.


If you have access to stairs, take advantage of them. Stair climbing is a convenient and effective way to get your heart rate up and engage your leg muscles. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that short bouts of stair climbing throughout the day can improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. [4] Climb at a brisk pace and you burn 10 calories per minute; run and you burn 15 calories per minute.

For more on stair climbing and other everyday cardio, check out: Covert Cardio


Jumping rope requires minimal equipment and can be done in a small space, such as a studio apartment or office. It’s an excellent way to elevate your heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness. According to the American Council on Exercise, incorporating jumping rope into your day can help burn calories, improve coordination, and increase bone density.

exercise snacks
Jumping rope at home / Mart Production


Burpees are a poorly named, full-body exercise that combines elements of cardio and strength training. Start in a standing position, drop into a push-up, jump the feet forward, and explosively jump up with arms overhead. Burpees are a challenging and effective exercise for improving cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and overall fitness.


When you have a few minutes to spare but not enough to get outside, use them for a brisk jog in place or on a treadmill. This offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced stress, and increased calorie burn. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that even short bouts of jogging can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. [5]


Resistance and cardio training can be combined within exercise snacks.


Create a mini circuit workout by combining a few different exercises that elevate your heart rate and test your strength. For example, perform a pushups (10 reps) and burpees (10 reps) one after the other without resting. Or do a rotation of kettlebell swings, goblet squats, and jumping rope. Rest between circuits, if you need to. This approach helps you maximize your workout in a short amount of time.

exercise snacks
Do several exercises together for a combo snack. / Pavel Danilyuk


Exercise snacks provide a practical solution for busy individuals looking to enhance their physical activity levels. By incorporating short bursts of exercise into your daily routine, you can enjoy numerous health benefits and combat the negative effects of sedentary behavior. Whether it’s desk exercises, stair climbing, jumping ropes, wall sits, or whatever you choose, bite-sized workouts can fit seamlessly into your busy schedule. Embrace the power of exercise snacks and prioritize your health, one mini-workout at a time.

Related content: 10-Minute Workouts


1. Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. “Strength and Hypertrophy Adaptations Between Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(12):3508-3523.

2. Colado JC, Triplett NT. “Effects of a Short-Term Resistance Program Using Elastic Bands Versus Weight Machines for Sedentary Middle-Aged Women.” J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(5):1441-1448.

3. Jay K, Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, et al. “Effects of kettlebell training on postural coordination and jump performance: a randomized controlled trial.” J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(5):1202-1209.

5. Tudor-Locke C, Schuna JM Jr, Han H, et al. “Step-Based Physical Activity Metrics and Cardiometabolic Risk: NHANES 2005-2006.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017;49(2):283-291.

6. Hamer M, Chida Y. “Active commuting and cardiovascular risk: a meta-analytic review.” Prev Med. 2008;46(1):9-13.