Are you starting to head back into the office? Fitting getting exercise into your daily routine can be hard enough without adding the morning and evening commute back in. Incidental exercise can be a great way of getting physical activity into your day without needing to make any schedule changes.
Incidental exercise is any activity that is built up in small amounts over the course of a day (Queensland Health, 2018). The duration can vary significantly from a couple of minutes hanging out the washing to a couple of hours used commuting.
Incidental exercise contributes to our overall physical activity and regular physical activity can have the following health benefits:
- Improves physical fitness.
- Reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, depression, and hypertension.
- Assists in managing body weight.
- Maintains strong muscles and bones.
Incidental exercise has the bonus that it does not have all the usual barriers like structured exercise. There is no cost involved, it does not require any equipment and there is no prerequisite of fitness level or skill level. No excuses in other words.
There are lots of ways of easy ways of increasing your incidental activity:
1.Start your day well:
Make the most of the early summer mornings and start the day with a walk down to the local coffee shop for your coffee fix.
2. Incorporate it into your commute:
It is likely, if you work in the city, you will spend a good portion of your commute sitting in traffic. Consider the busiest portions of the journey. Is it possible for you to walk, run or cycle some of this instead? If not, can you get on or off the bus a few stops later or park the car further away?
3. Make active choices at work:
Making small active choices throughout the workday adds up to big changes in your general activity. Its easy to add an extra 35mins of physical activity with these small changes:
- Walk up the stairs rather than taking the lift (5mins).
- Get out of the office at lunch time and go for a walk (20mins).
- Get up to talk to your colleagues rather than sending an email (3 mins).
- Try a different coffee shop that is further away (5mins).
- Complete mini squats or calf raises when you are on the phone (2 mins).
4. Organise active social events with friends:
We are lucky enough to live in such a picturesque city. Why not make the most of our beautiful surrounds by meeting friends for a bush walk or for an ocean swim in the weekend?
5. Plan active family activities:
Rather than sitting back and watching your kids kick a ball around, why not join them? Alternatively plan active activities that the whole family can enjoy such swimming at the local pool or a bike ride.
If you have any questions about ways to incorporate physical activity into your day, please contact the friendly team at Bend + Mend Physiotherapy.