The Value of Incidental Exercise
In a world defined by deliberate and organised action, sometimes the incidental things make all the difference. Incidental activity is a valuable form of daily exercise, with small incidental movements accumulating throughout the day as the result of your normal routine. While not a complete substitute for discipline and organisation, these small movements add up over time to improve your physical and mental health. Incidental exercise doesn't happen at the gym, which makes it an ideal solution in a COVID-19 world.
Incidental activity refers to any situation where you are active throughout the day. Rather than being a direct result of your discipline and time management skills, this type of activity is the result of your life choices. In some ways, incidental exercise isn't 'exercise' at all, with this term typically used to define deliberate and planned activities performed to improve fitness levels. Instead, incidental activity happens as an indirect result of active, balanced, and healthy lifestyle choices.
Examples of incidental exercise include mowing the lawn, playing with your kids, and walking the dog. This type of incremental daily activity is a great way to counter-balance the sedentary lifestyle, with excessive time sitting down on couches and computers known to increase obesity and decrease physical health over time. While not performed for fitness alone, incidental activity often involves making a direct choice between two alternatives.
For example, you could walk to the shops instead of driving your car, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stand on the train instead of sitting down. Other examples of incidental exercise include cooking your own food instead of ordering in, stretching while watching TV, and walking to your friend's house instead of using the phone. While COVID-19 continues to present us with many challenges regarding exercise, it's a great time to rediscover the simple joys of daily movement and incremental activity rather than relying on commercial gyms and busy fitness classes.
Incidental exercise is a great way to make fitness fun, because it's not really fitness at all. By making different lifestyle choices, you can participate in the world through activity instead of watching it from a distance. A few simple choices can make a real difference to your health and wellbeing, with incidental activities able to improve your cardio, increase your strength, and enhance your flexibility. When small natural movements are repeated often throughout the day, they can lead to amazing results.
The small and incremental nature of incidental activities is a major advantage, especially for older people or those who are not in peak form. Traditional exercise often leads to injuries, especially when people train too hard or try to perform activities they're not ready for. In contrast, the natural rhythm and flow of your daily routine acts as a buffer against physical stress and exhaustion. As part of your regular and ongoing schedule, incidental activities are a great way to burn calories and increase movement in a way that's completely in-step with your everyday life and long-term goals.