So, you work in a physically demanding job and feel that this gets you enough physical activity throughout your day that you don’t need to do any extra, right?... WRONG. Whilst all this extra incidental activity throughout your day is giving you additional health benefits, it doesn’t give you the same BENEFITS as structured physical activity.
What is the difference between incidental and structured physical activity?
Incidental activity is defined as NON-PLANNED, UNSTRUCTURED ACTIVITY that accumulates in small portions over the course of a day. It can take many different forms including;
Whereas structured physical activity is PLANNED ACTIVITY that is completed in a continuous bout. This includes a planned walk, run or bike ride, gym sessions or classes or any other planned exercise session done individually or with others.
Can I just do incidental activity?
Whilst incidental activity provides many positive benefits it does not provide the same degree of benefit as structured physical activity. This is due to structured activity being completed in a continuous bout enabling our heart rate to increase, improving our cardiovascular and respiratory health. Completing specific strength training in planned exercise sessions also promotes a further increase in muscular strength and endurance when compared to incidental activity. Research has also shown that when activity is completed at a moderate intensity it assists in the prevention of a number of chronic conditions, including but not limited too;
What are the benefits of incidental activity?
By keeping your daily routine as active as possible there are a number of benefits that occur as well, such as;
So, what type of activity should I focus on?
At the end of the day all movement counts and should be encouraged, whether it is a planned workout or sneaking a few extra steps in around the office! If you feel that you have been lacking with your structured physical activity recently, try adding in a few extra steps to your day by parking the car further away, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting up from your chair once every hour!
If you would like some more guidance about how to fit structured or incidental activity into your day try visiting an Accredited Exercise Physiologist!
By, Aleisha Michael
Accredited Exercise Physiologist.