How Incidental Activity Can Help You Lose Weight

Beginning an exercise regime can be challenging – not only time-wise but also in terms of motivation – especially if you have had a mostly sedentary lifestyle. To help continue your weight loss you need to continue moving – but it doesn’t have to be challenging. An easy trick to increase your daily physical activity levels is to increase your incidental activity. Incidental activities are activities that are undertaken as part of our every-day life. They are unplanned…just part of your daily life. Let me show you how.

Guest Post By Vanessa Coman, Exercise Physiologist and Director at New Me.

There are so many ways to turn normal daily activities into actual physical activities.  You just need to get creative.  Look for opportunities to pop a little more movement into your daily lives.  You will be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

Here’s some great tips to make ordinary activities more purposeful.

At home

  • Put your phone on the other side of the room to charge at night, and when your alarm goes off, you are forced to get up. This is especially helpful for those who struggle to get up in the morning and allows you to start your day earlier, whether for exercise or to simply end the alarm and snooze relationship you have each morning.
  • Take 1 bag of grocery shopping in at a time from the car
  • Do some kitchen exercises while you wait for the toaster, microwave or kettle to boil. These could include marching on the spot, bench push-ups, tippy toes or squats.
  • Split up your washing. Take several small loads to the line to hang out, which adds in some more activity time.
  • Think about a little exercise routine you can do in the short ad breaks while you’re watching T.V. perhaps a few crunches or sit-ups.


For people whose workdays revolve primarily on sitting at a desk, there are some small and simple actions you can incorporate into your day like:

  • Standing instead of sitting at your desk for a couple of hours a day
  • Whether you have your lunch at your desk or in the lunch room, set aside some time on your lunch break to go for a stroll. Every step counts!
  • If you receive a call on your mobile, get up and take a walk around instead of sitting or standing still!

Going to and from work

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator into work
  • Park further away from your destination, so you have to walk further
  • Ride your bike if possible!
  • If you have children, walking them to and from school or daycare can be a great way to get extra exercise in for both of you. If you can’t walk all the way, park a reasonable distance and walk the rest.

Out and about

One of the most significant hurdles during the weight loss journey is sticking to your new routines in social settings. Whether it be at a family lunch or a coffee date, there are lots of little tricks to squeeze in some exercise in your social commitments such as:

  • Like work, park further away from your destination, so you have to walk further
  • Take the stairs to your local shopping centre
  • If you’re meeting a friend, why not choose to go for a walk with takeaway coffee instead of sitting in?
  • Organise an outdoor setting like a park where you will have the opportunity to move around

Every day is a great day to start exercising

No matter what you do – whether hard out exercise or incidental activity, and no matter how long or short the intervals are – just start counting up your movement. It all adds up to your total 1 hour of movement a day that we are striving for.
And remember every little bit counts no matter how small. Time to get creative and have fun!

Want to know more about exercise and weight loss surgery?

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