It takes less than five minutes to build muscle and burn calories with these 'exercise snacking' workouts

This fitness trend can increase your daily movement and boost your metabolism

Woman doing a side plank exercise on her knees in living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If, like me, you've got a million things to do in a day, finding time to work out can feel impossible. Thankfully, trainers are constantly coming up with new and efficient ways to exercise—such as "exercise snacking".

The concept has been around for a while, but has recently begun to trend on social media again. It encourages you to do short bursts of exercise throughout your day, rather than hour-long stints in the gym.

I don't always fancy clock-watching while I exercise, which is why I liked this simple tip from nutrition therapist Natalie Fader. She encourages you to plug in your headphones and perform an exercise for the duration of a song, instead of focusing on a timer. 

Exercise snack ideas

Fader lists five different exercises that she tried snacking on: planks, wall-sits, squats, leg-lifts and general abs-focused moves (like crunches). 

You can try any of these moves yourself—if you need tips on how to do them, see our form guides on how to plank, how to squat and how to do a crunch.

Start by doing the moves for the duration of a song. If you're feeling ambitious, you could try doing a few five-minute workouts as well. 

Benefits of exercise snacking

The main benefit of exercise snacking is that is encourages you to add more movement into your day. And regularly doing short bursts of movement can seriously benefit your health. 

“Doing short bursts of exercise across the day can improve cardiovascular health and support increased energy levels, enhance mood, improve mental focus, and increase metabolism,” says Mitch Raynsford, strength and conditioning coach at digital coaching platform P3RFORM.

“It's especially beneficial for those with sedentary jobs or lifestyles, a busy work and family life, or people who are just starting their fitness journey,” he says.

Regularly doing an exercise will help you get better at it, too. According to Faber, exercise snacking helped her increase her plank time from 30 seconds to three minutes.

Mitch Rainsford
Mitch Raynsford

Mitch Raynsford is a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach for the workout platform P3RFORM. His aim is to help people at all levels to understand their bodies and achieve their fitness goals. 

Need a new mat to support your exercise snacking regime? Check out our guide to the best yoga mats

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.


Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.