10 ways to increase your incidental exercise

What is incidental exercise? 

Incidental exercise is small amounts of exercise that are achieved throughout the day and are often incorporated into our daily tasks. 

Why should I move more? 

Physical activity is great for both our physical and mental health and is defined as any bodily movement created by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. The benefits of regular physical activity have been shown to play a role in chronic disease prevention of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. 

Some of the other benefits of being physically active include:

  • Improved muscular and cardiovascular fitness 
  • Helping to maintain a healthy body weight 
  • Falls prevention 
  • Improvements in mental health 

What the data trends say about our level of physical activity

Data produced by the WHO indicates that only 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy. In addition more than 1 quarter of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion adults) are insufficiently active. Physical inactivity is more common among high income countries, this is thought to be due to sedentary behaviour whilst on the job and at home and increased use of “passive” transport. 

How can I increase my level of physical activity 

We all know that moving more is good for our physical and mental health, but sometimes fitting an adequate amount of exercise into our day can feel like a challenge. Below we have outlined 10 easy ways to try and increase the amount of incidental exercise you’re getting throughout the day. 

  1. Park further away from your destination such as work or the shops so you can walk the extra distance
  2. Drink more water during the day: use the opportunity for extra bathroom breaks to walk around more than normal before returning to a task
  3. Take the stairs! We have all heard this one before but it is an easy and convenient way to get that step count up
  4. Leave the office during your lunch break for a 10-15 minute walk
  5. Walk your dog: it’s a win-win for both you and your dog!
  6. Stop sitting: make a conscious effort of getting up at least once an hour to move around more. Make the most of your technology, most smart watches now come with alerts about how much time you’ve spent sitting
  7. Move around while you’re on the phone
  8. Walk around the field when you’re watching kids sports over the weekend
  9. Meet a friend for a walk instead of catching up at a cafe
  10. Walk or cycle to work of the train station/bus stop

These are just 10 days to increase your level of activity but the trick is to find something that works for you. What can you be doing to get moving more? 


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