We were always told to avoid exercise and eating. When it come to weight loss this may have been a mistake.

What is exercise snacking?

Exercise Snacking. It’s not quite what the name implies and before you read ahead; sorry – we are not about to tell you to eat while you’re exercising! We still have good news though, and if it’s been years (or even decades) since your last jaunt at the gym or jog around the block and the mere thought of exercise makes you sweat, then this simple times table could be the secret formula to getting you fitter, reducing your cardiovascular risk and improving your diabetes control.

3 x 5 = 15

It might seem too good to be true, but it’s exactly what we recommend for anyone who thinks that they are too unfit to exercise – 5 minutes of exercise either before or after each main meal every day.

What are the benefits?

Doing a little exercise everyday, will have so many benefits for you! This is great news for all of our patients who have been doing their daily 3×5, and even better news for those who haven’t started yet – there’s twice as many reasons to get moving!

Here’s a couple:

Improves blood glucose levels

Just 5 minutes of intense exercise either immediately before or after a meal has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels Blood Glucose Responses to Type, Intensity, Duration, and Timing of Exercise. Because of this, we gleefully prescribe ‘Exercise Snacking’ as a no-cost treatment to all of our diabetes patients regardless of age, fitness or mobility. Now, a new study has shown that compared to doing nothing, 15 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity can reduce the mortality risk for people over 60 by 22%.

Weight loss

Doing your 3x5 everyday will help you on your road to weight loss. If you carry extra weight around your midsection, losing weight and becoming a healthy weight is important and beneficial in helping with insulin resistance. Carrying excess visceral fat (a type of fat that’s stored around your internal organs) is associated with an increased risk of developing other health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and bowel cancer! The importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes mellitus

If you are someone with prediabetes, even a small amount of weight loss can improve your health. A study has found that in people with prediabetes, for every kilogram lost there was a 16% reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes Effect of Weight Loss With Lifestyle Intervention on Risk of Diabetes.

This is great news for all of our patients who have been doing their daily 3×5, and even better news for those who haven’t started yet – there’s twice as many reasons to get moving!

What exercise can I do?

To get you started, here are 3 ideas for your daily 3×5, but anything that gets your heart pumping and has you breathing a little heavier is going to do the trick:

Alternate leg raises and bicep curls

Sit in a chair and raise one leg 5 times, then the other leg 5 times. Now, holding onto a can of soup/spaghetti from the pantry, raise your fist to your shoulder 5 times and repeat with the other arm. Continue doing this for 5 minutes while you are watching TV– Too easy!


If you can safely navigate the stairs in your house – off you go. Up and down for 5 minutes – then make your meal. See how easy exercise is? There are no scary leotards or Jane Fonda jazzercise videos here, and you’re getting just as much benefit from it. Walking up flights of stairs can improve your health, including your cardiovascular fitness, one step at a time.


Hang out that washing and do it quickly enough that you start to breathe a little harder. Or you could do some laps around the clothesline.

Is there anything else that I can do?

If you couple your Exercise Snacking with making healthier eating choices, then you well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips you can use to making healthier food choices:

Reduce your intake of discretionary items and processed foods

Discretionary items are those foods that we consider “sometimes foods.” These include cakes, lollies, biscuits, and other sweet foods. These types of foods are typically high in sugar, fat, and salt. These foods, especially the ones that are high in sugar, can impact on both your blood glucose levels and your weight.