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The importance of incidental exercise

1 Feb 2015 5:08 PM - and some tips on how to get it....
Take the stairs for incidental exercise

A few years ago I was at a conference where Professor Avni Sali was speaking about preventative medicine and what you can do to reduce your risk of illness.  One of the things he talked about was exercise. In particular, he was promoting the benefits of incidental exercise.

It’s one thing to go to the gym or play sport or go for a run or a bike ride a couple of times a week but what about all the in-between time? Many of us spend hours at a time sitting in a car or at a desk or in front of the TV.  This is not good!

There is a growing body of research suggesting that sitting at a desk or in a car or on a couch for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health even if you are a gym junkie for a few hours a week. What is required is regular movement…at least every hour for a few minutes. 

Regular movement improves circulation, digestion, your immune system, helps lubricate your joints and engages your muscles. It also helps your mood and reduces your stress hormones. 

Now doesn't that all sound like a good thing (or should I say “a step in the right direction”, pardon the pun)?


Some tips to increase your incidental exercise:

  • set yourself a goal (and a reminder) to move at least once an hour (preferably every 30 minutes
  • park the car just that bit further away
  • get off the train, tram, bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way
  • take every opportunity to stand up instead of sitting…be the person who offers their seat on the train to someone who might need it more than you
  • consider investing in a “standing desk” ( I don’t have one of these yet but I do have a high bench that I can stand at to do some of my work and it really helps)
  • toss the remote…if you want to change channels, get up out of your seat
  • put those annoying ad breaks to good use, get up and do some stretches or walk to one end of the house and back or do a quick set of lunges up the hallway
  • instead of taking the car to an automatic car wash, go back to the old fashioned way of doing it yourself
  • take the stairs or walk the escalator
  • eat your lunch away from your desk (preferably outside in the fresh air)
  • get up and talk to people instead  of using email in the office
  • use a swiss ball for the office or home

Aim for “a little often, rather than a lot occasionally". 

There are lots of ways to get moving and it doesn't have to be strenuous. There's even more tips in my blog, Do you sit for long periods of time?

And here's what I think about pedometers and smart phone apps.

So remember, if you feel you are too tired or you believe you just don't have the time...that's not good. I can help you make the changes you need to live a happy and healthy life.  Call me for an appointment on 9620 9503 or contact me.

Do you have some tips for how to increase incidental exercise? I'd love to hear them. Please share your favourites in the comments below.

In good health,


Kaye Wright
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD


p.s. Did you like this blog? Do you know someone who needs to move a bit more? Please share or join the LaVida Loop to get email updates once a month. You'll get every blog and more!

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