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Does Incidental Exercise Help?

This is a question we commonly get here at Solutions; whether doing little bits of movement throughout the day is it as beneficial as doing a “workout”? Sarah Comensoli a contributor to Exercise Right’s web page summarises this topic quite well: “Incidental exercise is defined as any activity built up in small amounts over the course of day (Queensland Health, 2018). It tends to be less structured than a planned singular bout of activity, and can occur in many forms. Examples include:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift/escalator

  • Positioning printers at work further away

  • Walking to the shops/bus stop/train station

  • Choosing to park the car further away

  • Playing with mates/your kids at a park

  • Short bursts of gardening

  • Cleaning around the house

  • Opting for a walking meeting rather than sitting

  • Standing up and moving around the office whilst at work

DOES THIS MEAN I DON’T HAVE TO DO “STRUCTURED” EXERCISE? No it does not. We firmly believe that a combination of an active lifestyle with regular incidental exercise with structured exercise is ideal. However; if structured exercise is not possible, we encourage all our clients to keep moving when possible. After all, movement is medicine.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INCIDENTAL EXERCISE? Like structured exercise sessions, having an active daily routine can provide many positive benefits. Incidental exercise can help to keep you mobile, burn energy and remain fit. Incidentals also keep different muscles and tendons in check, offer some variety to your existing routine and can be great ways to get outside in nature! Research has found that as long as the activity is of a moderate intensity, (like the examples listed above) it can have a positive impact on the health of older adults. We know that many non-communicable chronic health conditions are associated with physical inactivity, so my goal is to help clients remain active in whatever way possible. Another bonus with incidental activity is that you don’t need to set aside a big chunk of time to complete it. The sky is the limit in terms of how you can inject bouts of movement into your day, and the smaller bouts often mean this type of activity is more manageable.

WHERE TO FROM HERE? So to wrap up, every step and active choice counts! If you can see your regular sessions reducing, think incidentals! All the steps and movements add up to help you remain active and healthy. If you need more guidance and advice for both structured and incidental exercise, come see one of our Exercise Physiologist here at Solutions for Wellbeing in Kiama. We create individualised exercise specific to your health history and needs.

For more information on this topic or to read the original article by Sarah Comensoli, head to this link:

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