Benefits of Incidental Exercise

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative fitness article by Carla Sacca:

Park a few blocks away from work and walk to the office to work incidental exercise into your schedule. Source

Sometimes life gets so busy that it’s almost impossible to find time for structured exercises in your daily routine.

If that’s the situation you’re in, don’t worry. It’s not the end of keeping fit and enjoying all the benefits of exercising. There are many other ways to increase your activeness without hitting the gym or going for a run.

One such strategy is incidental exercises. All it requires is to put in a little more effort to help the impact of lack of exercise.

Read on to learn more about incidental exercises and the benefits they bring you.

What Is Incidental Exercise?

Incidental exercise refers to any movement you can fit into your schedule. It’s not structured like typical exercise, such as working out, running, or doing yoga. It’s exercise through  day-to-day activities.

When you increase your movement during the normal course of your day, it may be easier to get more exercise than if you make workout plans you don’t keep for various reasons.

There are many ways you can increase incidental exercise in your daily routine, including:

  • Using the staircase instead of the escalator or lift
  • Doing your chores manually (or using your hands instead of using machines or electronics)
  • Walking to the bus or train station or to work
  • Take a walk with coworkers during breaks
  • Remaining standing and walking around the office while at work
  • Parking your car farther away and walking to the shopping mall or workplace
  • Gardening from time to time

Benefits of Incidental Exercise

Regular incidental exercise has many health benefits. In fact, health experts are continually researching and discovering more of these advantages.

Here are some benefits of incidental exercise:

1. Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves your cardiorespiratory system. Similarly, regular incidental exercise is essential in helping improve how your heart, lungs, and circulatory system perform.

Just simply walking a few miles to work or anywhere can significantly boost your cardiovascular fitness.

2. Reduces Risk of Death

According to one study, incidental exercise reduces incidences of death from chronic kidney disease by about 41%.

The researchers observed that spending just two minutes walking  for every hour spent sitting can make a big difference, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

We all know how physical inactivity is dangerous for people with chronic conditions, and that’s where incidental exercises come in. They’re relatively easier to do and they fit into the busiest of schedules.

3. Promotes Weight Loss

Imagine what sitting in your office chair all day could do to your body weight, not to mention if you take in excessive calories while engaging in very little physical activity. Combine these two factors, and you have a recipe for weight gain.

Incidental exercise is a way to counteract weight gain. Walking around the office or maybe parking far away from the workplace to walk for a few minutes will burn calories to  help reduce your body weight or keep it from escalating

 5. Maintains Strength and Fitness

To get through your day  effectively, you need to be physically fit. And you need to exercise to achieve this strength and fitness.

The good news is, amid your busy schedule, you can engage in incidental exercises that promote strength and fitness.

For example, every time you take a phone call, you could stop and do ten or so squats. Or, when you’re watching your favorite TV show, you could incorporate doing stretches or a few yoga poses into the commercial breaks. This way, you have every-day reminders to really develop a good routine of health and fitness.

6. Good for Mental Health and Overall Wellbeing

Cleaning the house, washing your car, and walking to the shops or workplace has mental health benefits too. You’re moving away from your busy schedule, which allows you time to refresh your mind.

Remember, even the mind gets exhausted, and with all the stresses that come with work, incidental activities help ease things up. They clear up your mind and improve your overall well-being.

7. May Relieve Body Pain

Often, when any part of your body is in pain, it also affects other parts of your body and sometimes just about everything you do.

Fortunately, no matter where you are, there’s always an opportunity to engage in incidental exercises. These exercises promote movement of the neck, shoulders, arms, and other body parts. The outcome would be reduced pain in your shoulders or any other part if they were aching.

Make sure the movements and exercises you carry out are associated with pain reduction for effectiveness.

Take swimming as an example. For people who suffer from arthritis or joint or chronic pain, swimming can be transformative. It’s a great way to get your cardiovascular health up without hurting your joints. The water will support your weight, ensuring your joints and spine don’t take a hit, but you still get good muscle work in, especially when doing exercises that focus on your large muscles, like in your legs.Using a kickboard is perfect for this.

For those who have back pain, stretching and yoga are excellent ways to stay fit while increasing mobility range and decreasing pain. It helps to strengthen the back while improving flexibility and increasing range of movement. Just note that anything that involves the back needs to be done carefully and gently, especially when building strength for the first time.

Does Incidental Exercise Mean Stop Structured Exercises?

No, it doesn’t mean you should quit structured exercises. In fact, the ideal lifestyle includes a combination of both structured exercises and regular incidental activities.

However, if you can’t find time for the structured exercise sessions, increasing the amount of incidental exercise you do is useful. You’ll benefit from most any movement you add to your day.

Final Word

Now that you understand the benefits, why not challenge yourself to incorporate several incidental exercises into your everyday routine? They’re fast and easy, and it can be a fun challenge to add as many as you can.

Whether it’s cycling, walking, gardening, taking the stairs, making your calls while standing, or meeting friends for a walk instead of sitting in a café, the gains can be significant and well worth your time.

Carla Sacca is the owner of All Things Kids and Fitness at Home Australia.

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