Use “Exercise Snacks” To Improve Your Cardio Fitness

Disclosure: Links to other sites may be affiliate links that generate us a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The technique of breaking up exercise into short "snacks" instead of long workouts is known as Exercise snacks. It has been shown to lead to measurable increases in cardio fitness - even when done infrequently.

A new study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism shows that cardio fitness can be improved measurably with surprisingly little activity.

The study showed that climbing 3 flights of stairs, 3 times per day, with several hours of rest in between resulted in measurable improvements in cardio fitness.[1]

The concept of breaking up exercise into short, manageable chunks results in what are known as “Exercise Snacks”.

By breaking up fitness into short, infrequent bouts you can more easily incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

The study used 24 young adults with sedentary lifestyles and a control group of peers.

The group that vigorously climbed 3 flights of stairs 3 times per day, with 1-4 hours of rest in between, showed a 5% improvement of peak oxygen uptake (or VO2peak).

Further, this exercise regimen was only performed 3 days per week.

And while the absolute increase in cardio fitness is not very large – it was accomplished with fairly little (and infrequent) exercise.

It should be noted that the participants also performed a short warm-up routine consisting of ten jumping-jacks, ten air squats and five lunges on each side prior to the stair climb.

Improving cardiorespiratory fitness is important – because it has been shown to decrease the risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.

In Summary

When it comes to improving your fitness, it seems that every little bit counts.

“Exercise Snacking” is a technique that uses short bouts of physical activity rather than long workouts.

And now it’s been shown to work – even when done very infrequently.

We recommend you find ways to incorporate “Excercise Snacks” into your day.


1. Do Stair Climbing Exercise “Snacks” Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness? Jenkins EM, Nairn LN, Skelly LE, Little JP, Gibala MJ.

Running up flights of stairs is an excellent way to improve your cardio fitness