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10 easy ways to incorporate incidental exercise into your day

By Rachel O'Regan |


I Quit Sugar – 10 easy ways to incorporate incidental exercise into your day

In this crazy hectic life, you could be forgiven for not having the time or energy to join your local gym, running squad or pre-dawn anti-gravity hot yoga class.

But don’t fret – you can be fit without being Crossfit, and you don’t have to wear Lycra to exercise (although you can if you want, of course!).

Incidental exercise is any physical activity that is built up during the day, from walking to the train station to stirring a pot of risotto. And, while we all get some incidental exercise without realising it, if you’re stuck in an office all day long, these easy, sustainable incidental exercise tips are for you.

1. Take the stairs.

From the office to the train station, there are so many opportunities to increase our fitness by taking the stairs. Stair climbing increases your heart rate, tones your leg muscles and the best part is… it’s free!

2. Watch TV standing up.

Scientists have predicted that for every hour you sit down watching TV, you knock 22 minutes off your lifespan. Yikes! Next time you watch your favourite series (Game of Thrones, anyone?) do it standing up – you’ll also be more likely to walk around, cook dinner and clean the house during any ad breaks.

3. Park your car further away – or don’t drive at all.

Hands up who has driven around in circles for ages trying to find “the perfect park”? Not only could you have walked there sooner, but you’d have worked some mild cardio into your day, too. Better yet, walk or ride to the location if you have the option – who knows, you might even beat traffic!

4. Walk around on the phone.

Take phone calls as a reminder to keep moving (that’s why they’re called mobile phones, right?). Sarah even organises her meeting schedule around walkin’ and talkin’: “I book in phone calls with people and plan to walk and talk in that time slot. I think better this way, too and am more mindful.”

5. Carry groceries.

Only needed a couple of groceries? If you can handle the load, leave the trolley behind and carry your bags to the car/home/office. Free arm weights!

6. Make your social life an active one.

From café brunches to movie dates, you probably don’t even realise that most of your social life is sitting down. Why not plan a bike ride or walk in the park for your next outing?

7. Do some deskercise.

No, we’re not saying you should just go into downward dog in the middle of the office (although if you do sit on a yoga ball – or have a standing desk – even better). Set yourself reminders to do some neck rolls, simple arm stretches and shake the stiffness out, just like you do after a long plane trip. It’ll improve your posture and even revitalise your energy levels.

8. Use a pedometer.

Many experts recommend you hit 10,000 steps a day, which is kind of hard to do if you don’t have pedometer to remind you. You don’t even need to buy a fitness band – there are plenty of step-counting iPhone apps to tell you when you need to take that extra stroll.

9. Get out of your inbox.

If you need to talk somebody in your office, get up and, well, talk to them! This will also help build office relationships much better than an email signed “kind regards”.

10. Cook.

Slumping on the sofa with some takeaway might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll definitely get more benefits out of cooking your own dinner. All that chopping and stirring – plus, you’ll have a tasty meal that’s good for your body, too.

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