In today's fast-paced world, prioritising structured workouts for our physical and mental well-being is essential, yet it is easy to overlook a simple activity, accessible to nearly all of us - incidental walking.
Incidental walking refers to the unintentional or unplanned walks that occur during our regular daily activities. Unlike organised sports or specific workout routines that demand time, commitment, and equipment, incidental walking can effortlessly fit into our existing lives, offering massive rewards.
The Hidden Power of Incidental Walking
Incidental walking may seem like a small addition, but its impact on our overall physical and mental health is profound, especially for those of us who don't regularly engage in exercise.
It's incredibly simple to do and we can integrate it seamlessly into our daily routines by doing things such as:
Walking to the bus stop or train station during our daily commute.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator at shopping centers or other public places.
Walking around the office or home while on the phone (my favorite way to sneak in steps!).
Parking our car further away from our destination and walking the rest of the way.
Walking to nearby shops or cafes instead of relying on our cars.
Choosing to walk and chat with a colleague during a break instead of staying seated.
Getting off the bus or train one stop earlier and walking the remaining distance.
Exploring a new city on foot instead of taking a bus or taxi.
Walking to deliver a message to a coworker instead of sending an email or using messaging apps.
In a 2023 study, researchers from the University of Sydney, monitored the activity of 22,398 adults and results reveal that getting breathless through incidental activity for a staggeringly small amount of time each day is effective for reducing our risk of cancer.
Compared with those who didn’t get their heart rate up at all, they found that just 3½ minutes a day of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) was associated with up to 18 per cent reduction in cancer incidence, while 4½ minutes a day was associated with up to 32 per cent reduction in physical activity-related cancer incidence.
The benefits don't stop here and can also include:
1. Cardiovascular Health: Regular incidental walking can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Weight Management: Although not as intense as dedicated workouts, consistent movement throughout the day helps maintain a healthy weight.
3. Mental Well-Being: Incidental walking can serve as a mental reset, giving an opportunity to escape stressors and enhance mood.
4. Longevity: Even small bursts of walking can contribute to a longer and healthier.
Incorporating incidental walking into our lives really is a simple, free, and often hidden path to wellness.
So, why don't we take the stairs today?
Do you agree or can you share anything I may have missed? I'd love to hear your thoughts.....
Come visit me for a chat at www.chrisbarton.com.au