he current Australian Physical activity guidelines recommend that healthy adults aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activity or between 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Around the demands of work and home, one of the most common reasons that exercise professionals encounter for not being able to achieve these guidelines is “I just don’t have enough time”. However, achieving these guidelines doesn’t mean that you have to accumulate these minutes by just going for a walk for 30 minutes per day, there are other ways to incorporate physical activity into your everyday life.
Incidental physical activity refers to the activity that you complete throughout the day when you are attending to the tasks of work and daily living. Maximising your incidental physical activity can be a great way to accumulate more minutes and progress towards the guidelines. Here are 10 ways you can try to increase the amount of incidental physical activity that you accumulate throughout the day:
1. Park a bit further away: whether you are parking at work, at the train station or even in the shopping centre car park, think about parking a few hundred extra meters away from your usual spot and then using this distance as a bit of extra walking. Going for spaces that are a bit further away will also save the headache of trying to battle with other cars for spaces closer to the entrance!
2. Set a timer on your phone to get up and move every 30-60 minutes: sitting and being sedentary can have negative effects on your health. So, whether you are sitting at a desk or watching the television at home, getting up for a few minutes and stretching your legs around the office or house every half an hour can make a big difference.
3. Use a smaller water bottle: using a smaller water bottle means that you will run out of water more often, and that means you will have to walk to the tap or bubbler more frequently, a nice easy way to make sure you are staying hydrated and getting a few extra minutes of walking each day.
4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator: I know you’ve probably heard this one enough that it’s a cliché, but it can be a great way of getting more minutes of activity each day. If you have to go up/down 5 floors, maybe start with walking 1 or 2 and then catching the elevator for the remainder. Or set yourself rules like “if it is over 2 flights, I will take the elevator but if it is under then I take the stairs”.
5. When hanging up the washing, set the basket down 5m away from where you hang the clothes: it might not seem like a lot, but when you are walking back and forth for each item, this can be a great way to quickly accumulate some extra walking distance!
6. Send walking emails instead: next time you need to ask a colleague in the same office/area a question and are thinking of sending an email, perhaps consider going for a short walk in person to ask them directly. Then if you need to put something in writing, send the email when you get back. This may also help get your questions answered sooner if you follow up in person, a real win-win situation!
7. Hop off the bus 1 or 2 stops early: another easy way to add time during your daily commute, one less stop on the bus can make a big addition to your daily walking totals.
8. Grab your coffee to go: next time you are catching up with someone for coffee, consider getting it in a take-away cup and taking a short walk to a nearby park, beach or seating area instead of sitting in the café.
9. Don’t watch ads on television: another win-win situation here, every time there is an ad break on tv it’s another great chance to get up and move for a few minutes before your program restarts!
10. Make sure you check every aisle at the grocery store: walking up and down every aisle (even if you don’t need anything from that aisle) can be another great way to accumulate a few more minutes of walking!
These 10 ideas might help you to get closer to achieving the recommended physical activity guidelines, but if you need some extra advice, consider contacting one of our exercise physiologists today!
So remember that Physio Broadbeach | Functional Health can support you when it comes to Exercise Physiology & Fitness Tracking. We have a team of specialists who can provide all Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Sports Massage services at both our Biggera Waters and Broadbeach locations on the Gold Coast.
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