Incidental exercise is those small bursts of activity that aren’t necessarily planned but are a really good way to increase your daily activity levels. Quite simply the more you move the more energy your body expends which is a great way of meeting the American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM)s guidelines for weight maintenance (150 minutes per week) or weight loss (240 minutes per week).
More and more research is suggesting that even if you do commit to planned workouts every week (well done!) our increasingly sedentary lifestyles – more sitting than ever before, mean these incidental activities can play a pivotal roll in maintaining good health.
This time of year can be a particularly challenging one to keep moving so we’ve compiled a few ideas for increasing incidental exercise which I hope inspires you to stay active and healthy this festive season!
Ditch the car.
Most journeys taken buy car in this country are short ones. If you can walk to the shops, or to meet friends why not leave your car and get the blood pumping on the way. If you are shopping don’t forget to take some bags and carrying these home can work as a resistance workout too (spread the load evenly!)
Already walking? Try upping the pace a bit.
A stroll is a great way to get out and about but if you can why not take it a little bit faster. You will be exercising the glutes (bum), and core now and get your jobs done faster too.
Take an active break.
It’s such a nice time of the year to catch up with friends or family and whilst sitting in a coffee shop is nice (don’t get me wrong!) how about meeting for a fun active session – a walk on the beach, session on an indoor climbing wall, game of badminton or tennis (check out our coach Zoes fantastic Cardio Tennis classes at Sussex Cardio Tennis) are really fun, sociable ways to spend time with your loved ones. Or why not get your coffee to take away and stroll around some of our lovely open spaces whilst you catch up?
Have a list of people to phone?
Whether it’s for work or at home why not make phone calls active time? You can lunge, squat etc whilst on the phone or quite simply walk around (stairs?). Make sure you maintain good posture and feel proud of your multi tasking.
Take the stairs over a lift or escalator.
For a lower body and cardiovascular workout. And frankly the shops are so busy at the moment it would probably be faster!
Play outside with the children.
Children love to run, jump, climb. Use them as inspiration and hit the park with a Frisbee or ball and your trainers laced up ready to go.
Gardening and housework are great ways to move.
Think about all those up, down and rotational movements. You could play some music whilst you work and I expect in no time you’ll be feeling a bit out of puff and accomplished.
Walk the dog.
If you don’t have one – borrow one! Your friend or neighbor and their pooch will be delighted you offered – it will free them some time for festive tasks too.
Finally don’t forget to s-t-r-e-t-c-h
Whether you’re online shopping, commuting, travelling to see friends, writing cards taking a stretch break can maintain circulation, improve posture and help to avoid muscle and joint soreness. You can join Sam for a live stretch via our Facebook page on Saturday evening at 19.30 Live Stretch
Just a final thought. If you are in a fitness class or training session for 3 hours per week there are approximately 100 hours per week you might not be moving much or at all. Is it time to shift that balance?