Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Incidental Exercise

three friends jumping on the street

A couple of days ago, Diet Blog had a great post on incidental exercise. I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that you do not need to go to the gym or start training for a marathon to become more fit. Especially if you have small children, it is very hard to find the time to do those things. Don't you get angry at fit young childless people who tell you to just watch less tv? Yeah, sure, if I had time to watch those average three hours of tv every day, I knew where to fit in exercise. It is easy to get enough exercise though. Even though I now love running, and I am very glad I can now do that three times a week, we still do lots of incidental exercise. While I lost weight, the only exercise I did was walking with my daughter wherever I needed to go.

The tips are nothing new (I also wrote about some of them before in Exercise for busy parents). Health professionals have recommended doing the small things (taking the stairs, getting out of the bus one stop earlier, etc.) for ages. It is good to be reminded that these really are good things, and that they do add up.

Here are a few of the things we do to maintain an active lifestyle. I am interested in hearing your ideas!

  • We go everywhere walking or cycling. We often break into small runs (this is mainly because I get impatient when walking with a slow toddler...).
  • We often run to go somewhere. If we need to throw away something when we are in the playground, we will run to the trash can.
  • We play (and not just video games). Ball games are great for all ages, but we also play inside the house. My daughter will sit on my legs while I lift her and occasionally drop her on the bed. So much fun!
  • We take the stairs.
  • We dance! Whenever we dry our hands we do the hands-drying dance together.

I used to have a natural inclination to be lazy. I also have an analytical mind (I am a programmer) so I did things in the most efficient way possible. This was, of course, one of the things that led to my obesity. I slowly reprogrammed myself to try to find the active way of doing things and I find that I actually feel much better if I am having a day that is filled with accidental exercise.

July 18, 2006