Incidental Activity

By Tash Barry – Physiotherapist 


Incidental activity is the unplanned movement or activity we do over the course of a day, that is separate to any intentional exercise. Examples of incidental activity include:

  • Walking up the stairs at home or at work
  • Cycling or walking to work (even from a parked car)
  • Walking from the bus or train stop
  • Walking around the shops


Why is it important?

Physical activity has significant health benefits for our hearts, bodies and minds. Now more than ever we need to make sure we are prioritising this!


The “Locky D” Effect 

During lockdown, our total incidental activity is significantly less than it would usually be. As a result, we are more sedentary than normal which can lead to aches or pains, reduced cardiovascular fitness, and can add to feelings of depression or anxiety.


How to increase your Incidental activity during a lockdown 🚶‍♀️🌞

We have compiled a list of ways that you can increase your incidental activity at home:

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Finally getting around to the weeding that’s likely been on the to do list for a while!
  • Walk the dog a bit further than your usual route
  • Get on top of the housework (put on your favourite music to get in the groove!)
  • Be active whilst watching television (exercise on the ads, do some stability or balance work or use a treadmill or stationary bike if you have one)
  • Take regular rests from sitting if you are working from home – See our Desk Mobility at Home exercises!
  • Clean out your winter wardrobe as spring approaches (preparing goods to be donated to charity once lockdown has ended!)
  • Clean out your kitchen /fridge/ pantry
  • Try an online dance workout class on YouTube !
  • Continue to wear your fitness watch or activity tracker to monitor your activity

If you feel comfortable to, we highly recommend you utilise the Government advised one hour outdoors (within your jurisdiction) to soak up some of this beautiful Canberra weather (and the Vitamin D that comes with it!) and take a walk, ride or run.


How to remain physically active during Lockdown 🚴🧘‍♂️🏃‍♂️💃

As a result of reduced incidental activity, this means we should be prioritising working out a lot more. Don’t forget that whilst gyms and studios are closed during lockdown, we remain open and have moved our Matwork, Strong Bones, GLA:D, Strength for Life, Barre and Yoga classes online! Our experienced physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are running several classes daily throughout lockdown, that you can join. And don’t worry, if you’re like me and struggle with the ‘tech stuff’, we have organised regular ‘Test Zoom’ calls. These are quick 5 – 10 min calls to check that your sound / video works and to ensure you feel comfortable joining a Zoom class.

Telehealth classes are also claimable from most Private Health Insurers! Call us for more details, or book online today.

In Summary:

  1. Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
  2. Still aim to achieve 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity throughout the week
  3. Remain active in as many ways as you can
  4. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane!




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Higher Function Team
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