Incidental exercise has to be a big part of how we stay fit and healthy. It’s also great for reducing our bountiful stress levels. The pandemic has brought with it a lot of sugar, wine and a fairly sedentary lifestyle. We need to counter it’s influences. Trouble is, it feels icky to exercise in Melbourne right now. And a lot of people feel strange generally about being outside.

I worked for an online Pilates program for a while. It was a lot of fun. I learned two great tips from my time spent with them.

  • Work in your exercise gear
  • Embrace incidental exercise

The yoga tights cringe

I know, I know- everyone makes fun of the stereotypical woman wearing exercise wear to do her daily errands. We’ve dressed it up as being pretentious and it does cause us to step back.

But she’s actually onto something. When we work in our exercise gear, it means we have one less barrier to completing the exercise we need each day. There’s no reluctance about getting ready because we are.

Plus, women get knocked for everything we do anyway. What we wear has been a constant source of ridicule. Why the heck are we letting it get in the way of incidental exercise or the opportunity to de-stress through fitness?

If you really don’t want to wear tights and the whole yoga cliché, pick decent undies (like a supportive bra and/or non-chaff underpants), simple tee shirt and simple tracksuit pants or track shorts. Add shoes and socks and you’re off.

Oh, and a lunch time shower is awesome in resetting the clock.

Embrace Incidental exercise

Incidental exercise is for those of us who aren’t that keen on exercise, struggle to find time in a day for exercise and/or you wonderfully crazy people who love cramming in exercise in everything you do.

As the name suggests, incidental exercise is about adding specific moves to daily activities you undertake. It’s about adding small doses of exercise into your day in the things you do.

A few examples of incidental exercise include:

  • Leaving the car at home and walking or bicycling places (like to school with the kids or to the shops) instead
  • Using the broom or mop to support duck squats or a pele before you clean up the mess
  • Walking home with the milk and doing some reps with it instead of a hand weight
  • Standing on the bus and working on balance by swapping from one leg to the other
  • Using downward dog to get whatever just fell on the floor picked up
  • Habit replacement – e.g. swapping out a cigarette for 5 push ups instead
  • Doing some stretches and light movement when you wake up each morning
  • Taking the stairs instead of a lift to that meeting
  • Doing a small number of burpees or sit ups before taking your seat at the computer
  • Inviting clients to a walking meeting instead of meeting at the café

Want to embrace incidental exercise? Think about all the times you need to move, stand, sit down or carry something in a day. Now think about some kind of way to move, stretch, test or exercise your body along with it. Channel your inner army colonel and toss a tractor tyre if it helps.

Or you could just do what my partner and I did and get drunk and order a basketball hoop. That way, you have to play with it every day because you’re walking past a giant reminder of an expensive hangover. Whatever floats your boat!

What are you waiting for? Get moving and shake off some of the stress and unhealthy feeling with incidental exercise today.

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