20 ways to embrace incidental exercise with PT Marisa Branscombe

Fit exercise into my already crazy busy life? You must be kidding! I’m sure this rings a bell for many of you right? Women juggle so many priorities it may often feel impossible to fit exercise into your daily life. But how good does it feel when you kick that nagging feeling and fit some activity in? Your self esteem, energy and productivity are all given a boost.

If lack of time is your issue, it’s helpful to think of exercise in a different way, as either incidental or intentional exercise. Intentional exercise is what we do deliberately, a formal session such as a gym class or playing a game of tennis.

Incidental exercise is the exercise we get during daily activities and can be done in little bite-size chunks throughout the day. It should form the foundation of your total daily activity and can be the difference between being overweight or not. Engaging in more incidental activity can help to boost your daily energy expenditure and keep your metabolism going.

If you are currently doing no exercise at all, focusing on your incidental exercise is a great place to begin! If the thought of doing more structured exercise just doesn’t float your boat, do those things that are part of your daily life more often, for longer or more intensively. This may mean changing some of your lifestyle habits and sticking to it.

Replace a few of the convenient activities with traditional ones that get you to move more! Exercise doesn’t take as long as you think and every time you challenge your heart and lungs they will make a small adaptation for the better.

Here are 20 sure-fire ways to embrace incidental exercise and feel better for it:

1 Get a pedometer

Wear it each day for a week to establish your base-line steps. Then aim to increase the total number of steps taken by 10 per cent each week. The target you should be aiming for is 10,000 steps per day.


2. Walk to the shops

Instead of jumping in your car to grab some milk, take a walk and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while you are doing it.

3. Phone calls

When speaking on your mobile or cordless phone at home, pace around or do some
things around the house at
the same time.

4. Take the stairs

Wherever possible (shoes and medical conditions permitting!) opt for the stairs rather than the lift or escalators. If you are with someone, get them to do the stairs with you, as it’s always more fun with a buddy.

5. Get off early

When travelling to or from work get off one or two stops or stations early when using
public transport.

6. Walk at lunch

Instead of spending lunch breaks at your desk or at a cafe lazing around, grab a bite and then head out for a 10 to 20 minute walk with a friend. This will get the heart pumping, calories burning and will distress and refresh you for the afternoon’s work.

7. Ditch the remote control

No need to throw it away, but leave it on top of the TV and get up every time you want to switch the channel. It gives a whole new meaning to the thought of channel surfing!

8. Park further

Park further away at the shops when doing your weekly food shop, so that you can gain some extra fat burning through walking and pushing the trolley. Just ensure the car park is safe.

9. Multi-task

Bring a piece of equipment out in front of the TV and place it strategically so that you will actually use it. This means you can add little bits of extra resistance training to your week, without having to do a full workout all the time.

10. Phone calls

Take a stretch break in the afternoon to ward off fatigue and soreness from sitting too long, especially if you work at a computer.

11. Clean the house

Yes the household duties can be a chore, but how about changing your attitude towards these and using them to your advantage? Get stuck into your chores and feel those calories burning away. Put some good tunes on and mop the floor, clean the bathroom, vacuum the carpets or dust those areas that may be making you sneeze!

12. Clean the windows

Who needs a window cleaner when you have two arms? Don’t walk past your sliding doors and windows and cringe when you see dirty finger prints, do something about it. Reach high and bend low (by bending your knees, not your back) to give yourself an even better workout.

13. Get outdoors

Mowing the lawn, raking the fallen leaves, weeding and washing your car sure aren’t easy jobs. But they have to be done. Instead of putting them off, get out there and get stuck in. You won’t have to worry about that 5km run if you spend a couple of hours outside tidying up.

14. Walk the dog

Yes that’s right, our animals need tender loving care, including lots of walks each and every day. Most dogs will need two walks per day, so keep your best friend happy and take him or her out for a wander. Don’t have a dog? Well pretend you do!

15. Workout at work

Instead of sending an email or making a phone call, get up and talk to your work colleagues in person. It doesn’t matter whether they work in the next office or three levels up from you. Face to face communication is proven to be more effective at building rapport, so this is an added bonus.

16. Pick up after yourself

If you work in an office you can use the photocopier/printer to increase your incidental exercise. Get up and grab your printing every time you print a new job. Don’t let someone else get it for you.

17. Don’t sit still

Try not to sit still for more than half an hour at a time each day. Get up and move around.

18. Catch up with friends

Walk or cycle to visit a friend or meet them for coffee. If you think about it, you tend to drive around a lot in your local area, so ditch the car keys and get your walking shoes on.

19. Boost your posture

Instead of sitting on the standard desk chair at home or work, pump up a 55cm fit ball and use that instead. Using a fit ball on a regular basis will improve your posture, core stability, balance and increase your calorie burn throughout the day.

20. Babysit

Burn a few extra calories by looking after some kids for the day. Running after someone else’s little ones (or your own) is bound to keep you busy and your energy levels high
as well c