There are two different kinds of exercise – incidental and planned. Planned is when you go out to just do exercise. When you go for a run, to the gym, for a bike ride, boot camp etc. Incidental exercise is all the exercise that you get through your day-to-day activities: walking to the train, walking to school, walking around the office, running after the kids in the backyard.
Planned or structured exercise is great, but this doesn’t always fit into the day. One of the barriers to exercise is that people often don’t feel like they have time to go to the gym for an hour. Whereas planned exercise takes time, incidental exercise is often done while doing other things and it can be really helpful for our health as we do it more often. Any amount of exercise is beneficial and lots of short spurts of exercise can have the same effect on your health as a longer session.
I like to turn planned exercise into incidental. Don’t get me wrong, I love to just go for a bike ride or walk the dog. But I also like to go out with purpose. I have a bike trailer that I used to use with the kids but now I take it to the shops to get groceries instead of driving. And the kicker is no matter how tired I might be; I have to make it back. Really this only adds about 10 minutes each way, but now I have incorporated exercising into shopping.
The kids’ school is about 10 minutes away. If I walk there and back that’s 20 minutes. If I do that twice a day, at least 3 days a week I’ve done 60 minutes of walking! So I’ve made a big dent into my 150-minute goal and I haven’t even gotten started on my planned exercise yet.
Some other ways you can add incidental exercise into your day are parking further from the train and adding a 10-minute walk there and back each day. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Do squats while brushing your teeth – 2 minutes per brush, 2 brushes per day times 7 days equals 28 minutes of exercise and you haven’t taken time away from anything else in your day.
The possibilities are endless. You just have to be creative and see what fits into your lifestyle. So, what are some ways that you get incidental exercise?