Importance of Incidental Exercise: How and Where To Do It

May 17, 2013 | fitness

Just this week, I helped Skechers Australia and New Zealand launch a new line of GoWalk shoes that are designed to help increase incidental exercise for our day-to-day lives.

What’s this incidental exercise you ask?

Well, as the name suggests, it’s exercising by accident whilst also doing daily chores.

Being a new Mum, I’ve experienced some serious effects of incidental exercise. Prior to my bub, Lachlan, coming along I was, what you’d call a lazy exerciser. I’d train like a woman possessed, one hour a day, but for the other 23 hours I was a bit of a sloth.

However since having Lachlan, I’ve not been able to train as hard, due to breastfeeding, yet. However, I’m still back to my pre-pregnancy weight and feeling fabulous as ever. Go figure!

One of the reasons for this is that I have surrendered to incidental exercise. Lachlan loves the pram so I’m choosing to walk to the shops instead of driving; I’m spending more time outdoors. Could this be one of the reasons (along with breastfeeding) I’ve found it pretty easy to get back into shape? Probably.

Australia’s Activity Level

Over the past 70 years, Australians have been eating more, driving/using more public transport more and exercising less.

The proportion of obese Australians rose from 19 per cent to 24 per cent between 1995 and 2007-08, while 63 per cent of adult Australians are overweight or obese, as of today.

Experts blame the increase in sedentary work, technology, portion sizes and the declining rate of incidental exercise for what is being tagged as an obesity epidemic.

We know that diet plays a huge part in weight management, but even the old saying of ’80 per cent diet and 20 per cent exercise’ is being questioned and experts are now seeing exercise, especially incidental exercise play a much larger role in weight and health management.

Incidental Exercise

To counteract the obesity epidemic, National  physical activity guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. If weight loss is the goal, this rises to 60 minutes.

Of course, this can be broken up into three lots of 10 mintues or one lot of 30 minutes. On top of this, short bouts of higher intensity exercise is also recommended.

Benefits of Walking

I can go on an on about how beneficial walking is for your mind, body and soul. It’s the best form of incidental exercise, because all it requires you to do is stop taking buses to the supermarket and leaving your car keys at home. Easy as that.

If we had to speak in medical terms, walking does the following:

  • Increases cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness.
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Improves management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes.
  • Promotes stronger bones and improved balance.
  • Increases muscle strength and endurance.
  • Reduces body fat.
  • Improves mood.
  • Manages stress.

Top Tips to Increase Incidental Exercise

  • Wear appropriate footwear; never leave the house in high heels, as that will give you an excuse to hail a cab. 
  • Wear pedometer and track 12,000 steps a day.
  • Try taking the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier than your destination and walk to work or home.
  • Do housework like vacuuming – this burns over 100 calories per 10 minutes.
  • Walk to the local shops.
  • Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog, if it comes to that).

The Danger of High Heels

A lot of you will hate me for this one, but don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my heels, and will never give them up. However I always leave home in flats and change to heels at the last minute.

Walking in high heels for long distance can be extremely harmful for the posture and your physical health.

It disrupts the S curve of your back. They tip the posture forward putting strain on all the muscles down your posterior side, from calves, to lower back, upper back and neck.

  • Hammer toes: a deformity of the toe, in which the end of the toe is bent downward.
  • Bunions: A condition when the big toe points to the second toe.
  • Pump Bump: a condition where the heel swells up.
  • Tight achillles
  • Tight calves
  • Sore knees
  • Risk of rolled ankle

At the Skechers GoWalk Commercial shoot with the team


With the Skechers team shooting the commercial in Sydney

Why Skechers?

How Skechers has helped me, is with their new GoWalk range of shoes. They come with an innovative placement that allows GoImpulse sensors to move together and independently and they provide sensory feedback to promote a more natural stride. They are also super beneficial for flat foot people, as they come with an ortholite insole. The sole also has integrated anti-microbial sockliner which inhibits odour. You can throw these in the washing machine and they still look pretty good.

You can buy the GoWalk range from the Iconic at this link. My favourite at the moment is the coral colour.


Enter your email to receive a free Snack Attack Ebook full of healthy, simple & delicious recipes.


Enter your email to receive a free Snack Attack Ebook full of healthy, simple & delicious recipes.

Thanks for subscribing!

Pin It on Pinterest