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The Best Incidental Exercises

How to Exercise Without Actually Exercising

It's time for a refresher on incidental exercise. It's the exercise that happens when you're not even thinking about it and the beauty of it is you stand to burn calories (and lots of 'em) in the process. I know what you're thinking, incidental exercise is boring and this entire story is a waste of time, but it really, truly isn't. Hand on heart (just so you can understand how serious I am about this!), if there's one thing that has helped me on those days when I can't make it to my Pilates class or early-morning cardio session it's incidental exercise — no lie!

If simplicity is what you want in your exercise regime, or your life isn't regular-exercise friendly then it's time to subscribe to incidental exercise, ASAP. Combine it with overall healthy living and you'll be amazed at how quickly your fitness levels will improve.

So if you're looking to update your incidental exercise encyclopedia? We've got the perfect list of tried and tested not-really-exercise exercises that you can start today.

  • Take the stairs every time.
  • Bus and/or train surf! It's such a clever little core workout. How to public transport surf? Stand on the bus or train, with your feet planted flat and firm on the ground. Hold on to the nearest handrail and try to stand as straight as possible, while engaging your core, as the bus (or train) swerves through peak hour traffic. Simple!
  • Carry the shopping. Once you've paid for your groceries, carry your bags from the supermarket to the car. Consider using the trolley as cheating, unless you've bought your weight is canned goods.
  • Park far, far away from everything. Sure, the point of a car is to get you as close to your destination as physically possible, but if you park a block or two away you can squeeze in a 10-minute walk that you otherwise wouldn't have had — there and back is a 20-minute exercise gift!
  • Stand and talk. Stand and text, too!
  • Stretch in the lift. So, so random if you're in the lift with other people, but a girl's gotta stretch when a girl's gotta stretch. Quad, calf and shoulder stretches are perfect as you ride the lift.
  • Quit relying on Ubereats, and all the rest. Cook your meals and burn calories (instead of sitting on the couch waiting for your soggy food to arrive).
  • Lose your remote. Or just leave it up near the TV. Challenge yourself each time you want to change the channel . . . or pause your TV on Matty J's face (or abs).
  • Think about your posture, fix it, and shrink your waist.
  • Leave your phone in another room. If you want to read that message, or keep up with the group chat, you've gotta walk, girl!
  • Count your steps. Enter: Pedometer (aka your new best friend).
  • Stand and walk once an hour. This applies to desk-dwellers. Get yourself to that kitchen or walk to the bathroom, just move, somewhere, fast!
  • Change your stop. It's time to ditch your bus stop and walk to the next one. You'll clock up an extra five to 10 minutes of exercise you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
  • Get into power-cleaning. It's a 20-minute cleaning blitz where you pick up all the things around your house that are out of place and put them away. This is quite similar to panic-cleaning, when you hear your parents are swinging by for a "quick visit".
  • Halve your meals. Once you've digested your first half you can walk/skip/run/lunge/jump squat to the kitchen to receive your second half as a reward for your incidental exercise.
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