Y.You don’t have to grunt at a gym or grind the laps of the park to work up a sweat. Side exercises can be just as beneficial and much easier to incorporate into everyday life. “It is any activity that is part of daily life,” says Prof. Emmanuel Stamatakis, an expert on physical activity at the University of Sydney, “and not something that is done for the purpose of fitness, health or entertainment.”
Stamatakis tells me that random exercise, which academics refer to as “intermittent physical activity in the lifestyle”, has not been adequately researched. However, an article he co-authored in 2018 noted that sudden bursts of intense secondary exercise – climbing stairs, for example – can be of great health benefit, and the long-held belief that physical activity is undermined can be of great benefit must take at least 10 minutes to be worthwhile. “Every physical activity counts and has a health benefit,” says Stamatakis. But how can you incorporate more sub-exercises into your life? The experts weigh in.
Get up and tense
Get up and tense, don’t get up and shine … Photo: Flashpop / Getty Images
“The glute bridge is the number one exercise I recommend to people before they get up in the morning,” says personal trainer Shelly Davies. “Wake up, straighten up and do a glute bridge.” To perform a glute bridge, lie on the floor or bed with your knees bent and feet flat, and lift your knees, hips, and shoulders off the floor as you squeeze the muscles in your butt. Davies specializes in educating people over 60 and using morning glute bridges to help them rebuild their core strength. “I have a 93-year-old client who makes three glute bridges in the morning before she gets out of bed,” says Davies. “She used to have to use an aide to help her get up. Now she can sit up and roll out of bed herself. “
Housework are your friend
“You’d be surprised how much energy you use doing housework,” says Nicole Booth, personal trainer and lecturer at Lancaster University. “Simple things like weeding the garden or spring cleaning are great ways to get active. Standing up and moving around can also relieve chronic back pain. “
Think like a cat
Have you ever noticed your cat stretching after a nap? Be more like a cat. “People forget that it’s important to stretch every day, too,” says Booth. “Animals instinctively do this when they wake up, but as humans we have forgotten or put it aside. Stretching for a minute to relieve tension can help us focus on how we are physically feeling and plan our day. It doesn’t have to be a yoga sequence or a specific format. “
Hard and fast is better
Try to get out of breath for a few minutes while walking … Photo: MixMedia / Getty Images
“Not all physical activity is created equal,” says Stamatakis. “Intensity is important.” A gentle stroll to the corner store won’t do much for your fitness in the long run. However, if you do decide to go there ASAP, you will increase your high-intensity secondary exercise quota. “Try getting out of breath for a few minutes,” says Stamatakis, “and then go back to a normal place where you can go.”
Throw away the car
“Replace car trips with walking and cycling,” says Stamatakis. “For most people, walking or cycling for a short trip of a mile or two is perfectly accessible.”
And the elevator
No more the lift … Photo: Kentaroo Tryman / Getty Images / Maskot
“Stairs often take less time than elevators,” says Stamatakis. “And it’s a fantastic, high-intensity workout that can produce measurable improvements in the cardiorespiratory system for most people.” In addition, stairs are more Covid-friendly. Who wants to be in a closed room with strangers?
Make the most of dead time
When you wait for the kettle to boil do something … Photo: Biz Jones / Getty / Image Source
“If you’re brushing your teeth at night,” says Davies, “why not do a few squats while you’re at it?” For her older clients, Davies suggests sitting down: Stand and get up before you have a meal. “Make sure you pinch your butt when you get up,” she says. When Davies is waiting for a kettle to boil, she encourages her older clients to work on their balance. “By standing on one leg for 30 seconds at a time and waiting for a kettle to boil, you strengthen your core,” she says.
Netflix and sweat
There is a lot you can do while watching another Netflix series. “I have a client who is 86 years old and has problems with her feet,” says Davies. “I tell her to pick up marbles with her toes while watching TV to strengthen her feet.”
Don’t sit on your bum at home all day. “If you’re at home and watch TV,” says Booth, “get up between episodes and walk around. Set a goal for mini-tasks. Fill a small glass of water, dance a little with the children. “
Above all move. “Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing,” says Booth. “All you can do is make progress.” So get on your way You don’t even have to leave your house – or turn off the TV.