How much time do you spend exercising in a typical week? Regular exercise is essential for good health. It will lower your risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other adverse conditions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, only about 23% of adults get enough exercise. By including more incidental exercise in your lifestyle, you can meet the CDC's guidelines while subsequently improving your health.
What Is Incidental Exercise?
Incidental exercise refers to any form of unplanned physical activity that occurs naturally throughout the day. You don't have to go to the gym to exercise, nor do you have to invest in free weights or other equipment for your home. You can exercise by performing physical activity. Incidental exercise is unplanned physical activity that occurs naturally throughout the day.
Incidental vs Intentional Exercise
Exercise can be classified as either incidental or intentional. Incidental exercise is unplanned, whereas intentional exercise is planned. When you perform intentional exercise, you are performing a planned physical activity with the sole purpose of improving your health. Incidental exercise consists of unplanned physical activity that is performed for other purposes.
Taking the stairs, for instance, is considered incidental exercise. If work on an upper floor or an office building, you can take the stairs down rather than the elevator. Taking the stairs is a form of exercise. And because it's unplanned and occurs naturally throughout the day, it's considered a form of incidental exercise.
Here are some other examples of incidental exercise:
- Cycling to work rather than driving
- Parking your vehicle farther away so that you are required to walk
- Using a standing desk at work
Benefits of Incidental Exercise
You can still perform intentional exercise. Rather than only performing intentional exercise, though, you should consider incidental exercise.
Incidental exercise can help you meet the CDC's exercise guidelines. It's particularly effective at burning calories. Most forms of incidental exercise are cardio. When performing them, your heart rate will increase. An elevated heart rate will then strengthen your heart so that it's able to pump blood more effortlessly through your body.
Incidental exercise is any form of unplanned physical activity that occurs naturally throughout the day. You can perform it in conjunction with intentional exercise. Combining these two types of physical activity together will set you on the path for better health.