Dec 5, 2012

Incidental Exercise: Get fit while doing your housework

Incidental Exercise
As a mum, I know only to well that it's not always easy to find the time to fit structured exercise into your already busy day.  I have good news for you though, there is a way that you can increase your fitness, burn calories and aid weight loss, all while doing your normal household activities:  This fabulous little trick is simply called incidental exercise.

Incidental exercise is the movement we are doing when we are not exercising.  It's the movements that make up our normal activities - hanging out the washing, doing the dishes, carrying our children, climbing stairs or just about any other type of movement that you can think of.   Our body is constantly burning calories just to keep our temperature regulated, so any movement helps our body to burn more.  The more you move, the more incidental exercise you participating in, the more calories you will burn.  Every extra bit of movement throughout your day will count and it all adds up!

To make incidental exercise work for you, you will need to increase the amount of incidental exercise you participate in.  In order to do that you will need to analyse your current lifestyle:

Questions to ask yourself include:

Are there periods of time during the day that you spend sitting down?

If so, consider ways to make these times more active - sitting on a fitness ball instead of a chair is an excellent way to do this.
Are there any activities during your day that you could add some extra movement to?

There actually a number of ways you can make your housework more active, it just takes a little bit of creativity.  One of my favourite examples of this is step ups while hanging the washing out.  All you need to do is set your washing line a little higher than usual and bring out a child's step (you know, the type they use to reach the bathroom sink) and you can do step-ups while you are hanging out or bringing in your washing.  Below are just a few other ideas for increasing your incidental exercise or being more active at home:

1.  Turning some music on and dancing with your children.   Trust me, your young children will LOVE it and they won't care whether you can dance or what you look like.  A good dance session with the kids is a great way to work up a sweat while keeping your kids happy.

2.  Put on some music while you do the housework, you can bop away while ironing, doing the dishes, dusting or any normally-mundane household duty.

3.  Side-lunges while doing the washing up.

4.  Lunge around your home while doing putting away washing

5.  Push ups while playing with your children on the floor

4..  Play 'Chasings' or 'Hide & Seek' or any active game with your kids. They will love you for it and might even nap/sleep better.

5.  Take a walk with your children, even just walking around the block will get you all out of the house and into the fresh air.

So there are just a few tips to get you started.  It's really up to you, there's no limit to how much incidental exercise you can include in your day - you just have to be committed and add it in whenever you think about it. It all adds up.

I'd love to hear more of your own incidental exercise ideas.  Feel free to leave me a comment with some of the ways you manage to increase the amount of incidental exercise in your day!

get fit at home, mum fitness, workout at home meme
Taking household chores to a whole new level