Written by Caroline Haywood, Four Green Steps
Monday, 15 October 2012 14:56
Live a healthier lifestyle the easy way!
Walking up the stairs, rather than taking the elevator; parking further away or getting off the bus a few stops early, in order to walk the extra distance; giving your house a vigorous spring clean: these are all examples of incidental exercise. Incidental exercise involves small activities that accumulate over the length of the day to keep you physically active. Trainers have stated that consciously moving around the house or the office expends enough energy to make a difference to your health by the end of the day.
Incidental exercise accumulates more quickly than you think and informal exercise could be part of your every waking moment. For example, you could take a quick walk to get the paper before breakfast, and then walk to a further-away bus stop. Once at work, take the stairs up to your office and making regular trips to the printer or photocopier. You’ve already walked a kilometre or two and we’re only at lunchtime! These little minute-long exercises can accumulate into hours during a week. In contrast, going to the gym three times a week for an hour a time is still only three hours of exercise!
We’re all busy, so many people find it much easier to be active in many small ways like this, as there is no need to set aside an hour to go to the gym or to jog. Instead, little by little, these activities mould seamlessly into your daily routine, without you even noticing that you’re spending the time on physical activity. Of course, it’s always great if you can also include more vigorous exercise in your fitness regime as well. But again, this doesn’t have to be slogging away on the treadmill at the gym – join a social sport with some friends or try a relaxed cycle or walk.
Try out some of the forms of incidental exercise in this article and see the difference it makes for you! Want some more ideas? Here are some more tips for incidental exercise:
- Stand up and walk around when you’re on the phone
- Do some gardening or clean the car by hand
- Get up off the sofa during commercial breaks and make a cup of tea - or better, do a few push-ups, sit-ups or walk up and down the stairs
- Hide the remote for the TV and get out of your chair to change the channel
- While at the shops, do a few laps of the mall (ideally with a few bags of shopping!)
- Be active while watching television (e.g. exercise bike or treadmill)
- Cycle or walk to work or the shops or when visiting friends
- Join in your children’s games
- Only have a glass of water on your desk instead of a bottle so you have to get up and keep refilling it
Image courtesy of lululemon athletica on Flickr.
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