If you struggle to find the time to do a vigorous workout as often as you’d like, you can still lose weight and keep it off by embracing a little thing called incidental exercise.
Sure it might take you a little longer if you’re not getting some hard core huffy puffy done, but being active every day is really what you should aim for, especially when following a healthy weigh loss plan.
According to Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour guidelines:
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none.
- Preferably be active every week.
- Each week try to accumulate between 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
- Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Incidental exercise is just that! Something that happens as a result of an activity such as housework or a general tidy up of cupboards, bedrooms or the garage.
When I’m getting stuck into the vacuuming or mopping I get a sweat going and can feel my heart rate rising, I can also feel it in my arms when I’m cleaning mirrors or windows.
While you can’t clean every day, and quite frankly who’d want to, you can embrace opportunities to get more incidental exercise in your day.
Instead of trying to find the closest park to the entry of the supermarket or shops, purposely park as far away as possible and you’re on your way!
Here’s 7 other ways to increase how much incidental exercise.
1. Push the lawnmower
Not only will it give you a break from nagging children, you’ll love how fabulous the place looks while getting in some serious steps. If you’ve got a sloping block you’ll also give your arms and thighs a workout!
2. Doing some gardening
Pulling out weeds, trimming hedges and trees and digging holes for new plants or shrubs will get that heart rate up and works out almost your entire body. Apparently just 30 minutes of digging can burn off 315 calories!
3. Reclaim dog walking duty
Sure it’s often your partner’s or the kid’s job to walk the dog, but if you take over this chore then if you keep up a good pace for an hour you’ll burn about 200 calories. If you don’t have a canine why not offer to walk the neighbours, you’ll earn some brownie points and maybe even a brownie (to eat)!
4. Stay vertical more often
It’s easy to sit down while the kids have their lunch or to relax and have a cuppa for an hour in the afternoon, but if you make a concerted effort to stay standing then you’ll easily get that step count up and probably be more productive with your time.
5. Wash the car
Sure it’s easier to bung the car through the machine, but doing it yourself for about 30 minutes and you’ll burn about 140 calories. Your arms and stomach muscles will get a workout, especially if you have a tall car.
Hint: Get the kids involved in the car cleaning; they’ll have a ball and one day beg you to do it by themself, winning!
6. Take the long way
Whether it’s choosing the stairs over the lift or escalator or parking the car a little further away at school drop-off in the morning, set little challenges for yourself so you have to walk more during your everyday activities.
7. Get funky in the kitchen
Cooking is either a joy or a chore for mums, but it’s usually an unavoidable part of life. Lifting heavy pots, going to and from the fridge and pantry and chopping food are all activities that keep your body moving. Put on some sounds and have a boogie and a sing to burn some more calories.
The key is to look at every mundane thing you do as an opportunity to get in some exercise, it doesn’t matter if you’re not sweating profusely just as long as you’re active as much as possible.