Incidental Activity vs. Exercise — What’s the Weight Loss Difference?

Incidental Activity vs. ExerciseIncidental exercise is literally the kind of exercise you get from “incidental” physical activity, such as climbing stairs, walking a few blocks to the bus stop, raking leaves, vacuuming your home, etc. Alternately, exercise is planned physical activity coordinated by a set of extended routines performed at home or at the gym. In some ways, incidental activity is more important than exercise because for many people, it may be the only kind of physical activity they receive that helps prevent them from gaining weight and suffering weight-related medical conditions.

Weight Loss Through Incidental Exercise

If you are one of the millions of people who for health, work or other reasons can’t exercise as much as they would like to, here are four convenient, “on-the-move” incidental exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep your body challenged and give those endorphins a boost for better mood and brain functioning:

  1. First of all, buy a pedometer to count the number of steps you take each day. It’s fun and interesting and will get you motivated to “beat” your previous record. Set yourself a target of so many thousands of steps per day, and keep upping that number until you reach a goal of 10,000 steps.
  2. Do you love nothing more than to chat with friends on your cell phone? That’s great, but instead of sitting or standing while burning up your minutes, walk around the house, walk around the block, walk up and down the stairs — just stay as mobile as your phone.
  3. Take the batteries out of your remote, and throw them away. No working remote means you have to get up every time you want to change the channel. If you are an obsessive “surfer,” you’ll get plenty of incidental exercise jumping up and down from your chair and walking to your TV.
  4. Limit sitting still to 30-minute stretches. Buy an inexpensive alarm clock, and set the timer to go off every 1/2 hour. When you hear bbbrrrrnnngg, it’s time to get up, stretch, walk, pace and just plain move.

Finally, get one of those big, rubber fitness balls, and sit on that instead of your computer chair. Not only will your posture improve (Sitting up straight is great for your circulatory system and spine health.), but you’ll also enhance your balance and core stability and even boost metabolism to help with weight loss plans.