Incidental exercise is the movement you perform as part of your everyday life that makes up your daily activities.
These movements can be simple – from walking to the mailbox to gardening to playing with the kids – but together these bite-sized chunks can add up to a significant portion of your total daily physical activity.
Physical activity has excellent health benefits and forms the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. It raises your daily energy expenditure and helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Sitting is the new smoking.Here are some handy ways to boost incidental exercise:
Set an alarm on your phone or watch to move hourly from your desk or chair
Invest in a standing desk
Take regular breaks to grab another glass of water
Take phone calls on your mobile and do laps around the office
Don’t install a printer at your desk, walk to collect printing
Catch up with work colleagues or friends over a brisk walk instead of sitting down at the office or coffee shop
Always use the stairs over the lift or escalators
Jump off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way
Multi-task – instead of sitting down in front of the television, do chores like washing, ironing and folding.
Park further away from the shop entry
Leave the TV remote on the coffee table and get up to change the channel
It is well known that exercise increases your fitness and improves your overall health and well-being. Exercise is also an effective way to manage your mood and stress levels.
Virtually any form of exercise from weight lifting to running or even yoga has powerful ‘mood-boosting’ effects. Exercise can help:
Decrease stress and anxiety levels
Ward off feelings of depression
Boost confidence and self-esteem
So how does exercise work its magic?
Endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good neurotransmitters or chemicals. When you perform any type of physical activity your body responds by releasing these neurotransmitters. The endorphins interact with your brain’s opiate receptors and trigger feelings of euphoria and general well-being. They also suppress your ability to feel pain.
Although a demanding schedule sounds like the perfect reason to for-go exercising, setting aside some time to move every day helps turn your daily physical activity into a healthy habit. The current recommendations for healthy adults are 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Try breaking exercise up into smaller chunks, mixing up the intensity of your physical activity and alternating between morning, lunchtime and evening activities to fit around your busy days. Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as another chore – it is actually the key to de-stressing after a hectic day!