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  • Writer's pictureTristan

"Snactivity", an ingenious way to increase physical activity


Many physical activity recommendations are repeated every day to the population. Currently, for an adult, it is recommended to perform at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, ideally distributed in five 30-minute sessions. These recommendations are made to reduce inactivity which has been increasing over the past years. However, it can be hard for someone to know how to find feasible solutions to implement in their daily life.

Following important funding given from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Loughborough University partnered with Birmingham University, Leicester University, Edinburg University, and Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust to investigate a novel approach to increase physical activity.

“Snacktivity” promotes the integration of multiple small physical activity tasks, lasting 2 to 5 minutes, regularly distributed throughout a working day. This approach spotlights that every effort counts and could motivate more people to increase their physical activity levels. As a result, this solution could increase the number of people reaching the national physical activity guidelines in the long run.

To investigate the impact of this novel approach, researchers asked GPs, clinicians, and medical practitioners to promote snacktivity to their patients during consultations. They also provided activity monitors to wear on the wrist connected to a phone application (SnackApp) which records every movement done by the participant. The app then automatically sends a notification when participants have been inactive for 1h to incite them to move for a few minutes. The study is still running, and we hope to receive positive and concrete results soon.

To conclude, snacktivity reminds us that it is not necessary to aim at unachievable physical activity goals as it would only discourage most people. Every increase in daily movement should rather be perceived as an achievement, and a successful step toward better health. Moreover, it should be reminded that decreasing inactivity and increasing physical activity, without even achieving recommendations, is beneficial for health. Every effort counts!


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