The (5) Easiest Ways to Increase Your Incidental Exercise

Exercise can be hard any time of the year. It is particularly hard in the cooler months when the morning sun takes a little longer to rise, particularly in Canberra. That’s why incidental exercise is one of the easiest ways to keep you moving. There-in lies the key to this notion: movement. The more you move, the better it is for your body and your health.  Here at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy, we place great emphasis on restoring efficient and effective movement patterns. This in turn leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Additional time stresses such as working from home due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions or just trying to fit in exercise around a busy commute and work schedule, makes sticking to an effective routine very difficult. It is therefore necessary to prioritise your day when it comes to exercise. And it should be high on your to-do list! But how do you achieve this consistently when life is taking shape all around you? This is where incidental exercise can help!

Older Couple Walking incidental exercise

What is incidental exercise?

Incidental exercise should fit into your day seamlessly. The beauty of it is that it is unstructured, free and usually does not involve equipment. There are no prerequisites to participate in this form of exercise. The crux of incidental exercise is to incorporate it into your normal day. It is any activity built up into small amounts throughout the day. The more you participate, the greater gain you will have.


Why is incidental exercise beneficial?

Incidental exercise is great for you for a variety of reasons. This includes

  • Increase physical fitness
  • Increase blood flow around the body
  • Decrease the risk of lifestyle risk factors; such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Assist in weight loss
  • Increase tone of muscles
  • Increase balance and confidence in your body


Incidental exercise can also be a good way to keep your body moving if you are returning from injury. Discussing this with your Physiotherapist is a key way to not loose your fitness gains whilst recovering appropriately from an injury lay-off. Fellow Physiotherapist Jenna Beer explains this well in her article: How to Keep Training With Pain and Injury – Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy (

Riding to work incidental exercise

How can I possibly fit this into my day?

This is the challenge of maintaining incidental exercise throughout your day. The notion of doing a little bit of exercise regularly resonates here. Sometimes the exercise can go for as a little as 60 seconds. If you break it up throughout your day, the time elapsed can surmount to over an hour! That way, on the days that you are not training, you do not need to find a block of 45-60 minutes to fit in your exercise.


The Department of Health within the Australian Government recommends:

Being active on most (preferably all) days every week. Furthermore, accumulating 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, every week! By following this plan, you have already started to get your health and lifestyle back on track.

Older Couple exercising incidental movement

5 Easy ways to fit incidental exercise in to your day:

  • Walk, walk, walk! Park your car at the end of the shopping bay away from the shops instead of close to. Alternatively, get off the light rail a stop earlier to increase your steps for the day.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Use a Sit-to-stand desk more often. You burn more calories from standing as opposed to sitting.
  • Calf raises are a great addition to your incidental exercise regime. You can do this whilst brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil or as the microwave ticks over. Mini squats or mini lunges can be substituted here also.
  • Physically get up and go and see your colleague instead of sending an email (whilst practising social distancing of course). Further to this point, encouraging household members to get up and go and see the person instead of texting is another effective way of moving!

How can we help you?

Seeking out an experienced and qualified Exercise Physiologist will help. Here at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy, we now have an accredited Exercise Physiologist. Alysha works out of our Gungahlin and City West Practices. She is a master of movement. More specifically, getting you to move more efficiently without exhausting yourself is a key component to her work. By building up a base of strength, you are reducing the likelihood of a muscle strain or further injury. Alysha is great at tracking your program, keeping you honest and best of all, progressing you in a way that you can self-manage your condition for the long term.

We look forward to you moving better and more often with us in the future. As always, if you are uncertain where to start, our brilliant Allied Health team is close by. Keep moving and stay strong.

Walking at lunch time incidental exercise


Department of Health | Fact Sheet: Adults (18-64 years)

About Jim Fuller

Jim graduated from the University of Sydney with a Masters of Physiotherapy after completing his Bachelor of Health Science. He has special interests in sports injuries particularly of the lower limb, soccer injuries and pilates. He also pays particular focus to prevention of future injuries. Jim enjoys all outdoor activities with his family and friends as they are often out camping, cycling, hiking and sailing.