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Incidental Exercise

by rt staff writer in Fitness

Staying fit and healthy was quite challenging for many in 2020. Gyms and pools were closed for several months – even longer in Victoria – and many people worked from home for extended periods. 

Despite restrictions, there are still opportunities to get incidental exercise all around. Here we take a look at how you can increase incidental exercise, whether it be around the house, going to the park or going to the shops.

Incidental exercise is a fantastic way to do physical activity without any time commitment even when the gyms and health clubs are open. No time wasted travelling to attend a gym, park or swimming pool, no equipment to carry, or time spent changing in and out of exercise clothes.

You may have heard that we should be doing 10,000 steps a day on average. But if you 're inactive, this can seem like a huge mountain to climb. Try aiming for 5,000 instead. And no need for expensive fitness trackers or smart watches, most mobile phones have a step counter built in.

Try to be aware and open to every opportunity to add some incremental exercise. And aim to do it a bit faster than you normally would. Even if it's for 30 seconds at a time. For example, vacuuming the house might not seem like exercise, but it can qualify as cardio exercise. It also involves bending, stretching, lifting and moving.

Here are some more ways to increase your incidental exercise:

  • When walking, do it briskly and include a few hills if you can
  • Walk or cycle instead of driving whenever possible
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift – up and down
  • While talking on the phone, stand up and do a few leg raises
  • The same if you do video/audio meetings with your colleagues
  • Get your steps up watching TV by marching on the spot or step side-to-side
  • Take your dog for an extra walk or a longer walk
  • Cook some of your own food rather than getting takeaway or home delivery
  • Play with your children rather than just watch them play.

Know that if you're increasing the amount of incidental exercise you do, that can only be a good thing.

And if upping incidental exercise on a regular basis gets you going on a fitness journey, there are plenty of free apps to help with anything from weight, diet and physical activity tracking.


This wellbeing message is brought to you by the health and wellbeing team at rt health – the health fund for transport and energy people. The health information provided here is intended to be informative only and should be carefully evaluated for its source, accuracy, completeness and relevance for your purposes. It is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Always obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances.

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