Exercise “Snacks” Increase Muscle Mass

Researchers from the University of Toronto report on the incorporation of amino acids into muscle. Translation: muscle building with short 2-minute “snacks” of exercise every thirty minutes. (1)

The humorist/philosopher Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Smart guy. Unfortunately, 80 percent of Americans have sedentary jobs. (2) And between commuting, working, and watching TV, many people spend 10 to 15 hours a day sitting—upping their risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, and dementia. (3)

A solution I didn’t expect to hear? “Get snacking.”

 Exercise snacking, that is. 

Taking just two minutes every half hour to do moderate-intensity walking or stand-to-sit squats (at least 15 of them)—which uses your own weight for resistance—helps your body filter sugar from your blood. It also promotes use of amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—to preserve and build muscles. 

Other great “exercise snacks” you can do—or get your patients, associates, or posse to try—include jumping jacks, walking up and down a couple flights of stairs, and jumping rope. 

So set an alarm on your phone for every 30 minutes, and enjoy exercise snacking! I suggest you mix up your exercise snacks, so you get to enjoy all the tastiest ones.

Bonus: You’ll have the healthiest mix of amino acids if you for-real-snack on avocados, nuts (walnuts and almonds), and natural peanut butter—the kind made only from peanuts. (4) At mealtime, get your dose of muscle-builders from egg white omelets (we share a great egg-white frittata recipe in the Reboot Your Age app!), fatty fish like salmon (you’ll find “Dr. Mike’s Famous Salmon Burger” in the app, too), and from skinless poultry.

Once again, a few of the basic six pillars that keep you physiologically younger for longer (Goal 1 of the Great Age Reboot book and Reboot Your Age app), and help you get to the “6 Normals +2” of the Program:

  • Stress management
  • Making Healthy Food Choices, portion sizing, and timing
  • Doing Four Components of Physical Activity
  • Avoiding Unforced Errors
  • Getting 6.5 to 8 .5 hours of sleep nightly and making healthy brain choices
  • Taking supplements and small molecules 

Remember: “Get to the point where you feel your health is much better than those of your high school classmates.” You can do that if you…  


  • A walk after dinner and less TV time—new studies show that even 2 minutes of walking after a meal can improve your blood glucose levels, and less TV means a less sedentary lifestyle
  • Smell 4 different aromas/fragrances/smells a day—this helps boost your brain health
  • Add vitamin D, omega-3 (you get both from 4 ounces of salmon a day), and half a multivitamin-multimineral twice a day to your routine 
  • Walk 10K steps a day and make Resistance Exercises a part of your strength-boosting regimen for a younger, stronger you
  • Make Intermittent Fasting your normal eating habit

Make Choices That Love You Back:

  • Avoid midlife obesity and midlife hypertension
  • Stop smoking
  • Keep learning—the pro-education choice
  • Diabetes is a life-shortener—make changes to your diet to quash  diabetes
  • Hearing loss is serious—avoid activities that damage your hearing, and get help when you find your hearing is waning   
  • Get your LDL—lousy cholesterol—into a normal range

Table S1 Description of the home-based physical exercise program and the control exercise:

SHEP (Strength exercise)Control exercise (Flexibility exercise)
1. Sit-to-stand (quadriceps /hip extension strength training)
2. One-leg stance (hip muscles strength training plus static balance training)
3. Pull Backs against elastic resistance (seated position)
4. External shoulder rotation against elastic resistance (seated position)5. Steps
1. Hip and knee mobility (seated position) 
2. Hip mobility (standing position) 
3. Trunk and chest mobility (seated position) 
4. Shoulder mobility (seated position) 
5. Ankle mobility (standing position)

We’re building a healthy lifestyle program every week in our Great Age Reboot newsletters and in the Reboot Your Age app.

Thanks for reading.  

Dr. Mike


  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00106.2022?utm_campaign=10.18.2022
  2. Sitting Disease: How a Sedentary Lifestyle Affects Heart Health | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  3. Continuous Dose-Response Association Between Sedentary Time and Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-analysis – PubMed (nih.gov)
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22243-amino-acids#:~:text=Amino%20acids%20are%20the%20building%20blocks%20of%20proteins.,of%20the%20necessary%20amino%20acids.