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Feeling peckish? Try a 20-second exercise snack

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Feeling peckish? Try a 20-second exercise snack

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Simmons National Consumer Survey, almost 35 million Americans consumed 16 or more bags of potato chips in 2018. But what if you skipped those empty calories and tried an exercise snack instead?

It would help give you a burst of energy when you need it (something empty calories don’t do) and boost your cardiorespiratory health, too, according to a study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. The researchers had folks who didn’t exercise regularly climb 60 steps three times a day (one to four hours apart), three days a week for six weeks. Results from follow-up fitness tests showed snack-ercisers had increased fitness and strength.

So if you’re having trouble finding the time or inclination to get to the gym or the park for a workout, consider snack-ercising. Stair climbing isn’t the only quick hit of activity that’s beneficial: A brisk walk or trot around the block, a set of 20 or more jumping jacks or even high-energy dancing will raise your heart rate and get you thinking of exercise as a regular part of your day!

>> For dancing, opt for a five-minute session, with 30-second bursts of intense groovin’, alternating with 30 seconds of slow dance.

>> Do the jumps in three 20-second intervals of high intensity with a break of two minutes in between.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to

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