Incidental exercise for better health

 

Incidental exercise is also known as ‘micro’ or ‘lifestyle exercise’. Typically, these are short sessions of physical activity, usually performed for a few minutes every hour. But don’t underestimate their value. These little ‘activity bouts’ can be incredibly effective; simply by accumulating two or three minutes of physical activity here and there across the day, we can make a real difference to our health. Indeed, a study from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, found gradual accumulation of “incidental exercise” can contribute to cardiovascular fitness levels.

Incidental exercise is particularly suitable for office workers, so if you are unlucky enough to be chained to a desk this August, why not give it a go? Maybe even start a little workplace revolution?

Take the lead

This is the plan; become the centre of attention, shake up your colleagues and then encourage them to join in. Pick a time to begin and then every 45 minutes for the rest of the day stand up and:

  • Run on the spot for two minutes

Or

  • Hold onto the back of your chair and squat up and down for two minutes

Or

  • Swing your arms, one clockwise, the other counter clockwise, for one minute, then reverse the motion

Or

  • If you have the space, lightly jog around the room

You get the picture – just make sure it’s not so vigorous that it upsets health and safety. If you’re a bit bashful, or just too shy to entertain the idea of leading an office incidental exercise revolution, here are some other suggestions for short bouts of activity:

  • Walk vigorously for ten minutes at lunchtime
  • Run for a bus, tram or train
  • Get off a stop earlier on your daily commute and walk the rest of your journey
  • Run up the stairs as fast as you can
  • Just get up from your desk and move around, and have a good stretch

Although micro exercise is not a substitute for a workout that includes aerobic and anaerobic training, it can contribute to overall fitness and is a great addition to any healthy living regime.

At No Targets Just Routine, it’s become standard procedure – with even the CEO stomping his way around the office, swinging his arms encouraging everyone else!

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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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