Getting in shape without working out
When you hear about getting in more exercise, you probably think of the gym and the price tag that comes along with a gym membership. But there are ways you can still break a sweat, no gym or workout equipment necessary. Enter: incidental exercise.
There are plenty of things you do on a daily basis that provide bouts of physical activity for your body. For example, when your supermarket runs out of shopping carts and you’re forced to lug a heavy basket of groceries? That’s a form of incidental exercise.
The best part is that science has got your back too. A 2018 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests any form of physical activity counts towards your health. In other words, you can have bouts of high physical activity (like running for a bus or train) and that itself can offer a health advantage. Incidental exercise should not be thought of as working out in the traditional sense, but a form of physical activity, nonetheless.
To understand how, where, and when you could get your incidental exercise in, we spoke with health experts who offer their tips to get in shape without actually working out.
Grab a basket instead of a trolley at the grocery store
The next time you need to shop, grab a basket instead of a trolley. “Walking around the store carrying your groceries will help you build core and shoulder strength,” explains strength and conditioning specialist, Marie V. Ande. And just think of all the money you’ll save by skipping unnecessary (and heavy) impulse purchases.
Drop it low
How many times a day do you bend down to pick something up off the floor, lift your child, pet a dog, tie your shoe, or put away something under the bed? Make the most of these impromptu squats by making sure you’ve got good form, says senior fitness specialist, Richard Sullivan. When bending over, make sure to pull in your abdominals, tighten your core, and slightly arch your back without twisting. Or, instead of bending from the waist, squat down with your legs – you’ll get a mini core workout, and it will help protect you from throwing out your back.