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Short on time? Make use of these top 10 incidental workouts

"Consistency in workouts is an important aspect of living an active life; you don’t have to engage in daily vigorous physical activity to reap the benefits of exercising."

Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash


Sometimes we find it difficult to stick to an exercise routine because of our busy daily lives. Incidental exercises, which we do all throughout the day and encompasses things such as taking the stairs rather than the escalator, walking to home after work, going for a morning run, riding a bike instead of driving, dancing to your favorite song, gardening, and fun activities like ice skating, cycling, and rollerblading, have a vital impact on our wellbeing beyond physical health.

Incidental workouts have a positive impact on general health, including strengthening of the lungs, reducing stress, enhancing strong bones, joints, and muscles, reducing stress, and reducing heart diseases.


Here are the top 10 easy incidental exercises to incorporate in your daily routine when you are short on time:

1. Do squats

Squatting is a fundamental movement pattern that involves muscle integration and multiple joints. It facilitates muscle power that helps in daily tasks such as walking, carrying heavy loads, and bending. Performing squats enhances exercise performance, strengthens your core, allows you to move more easily, and reduces the risk of injury. By being a compound workout, squats target several muscles, including calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, and the gluteus minimus, maximus, and medius.

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There are various types of squats. Changing from one type to another keeps the workout interesting while also engaging different muscles, and it can be done anywhere. This functional workout helps boost calorie burn and improve posture and balance. Before incorporating the squat into your fitness routine, consult with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions.

2. Stationary bike riding

Riding a stationary workout bike is an effective and efficient way to strengthen the muscles, heart, and lungs while burning more fat and calories. It provides a better aerobic workout and puts less stress on muscles and joints. It improves cardio fitness as it facilitates the flow of oxygen and blood in the body, which in turn has numerous health benefits such as better moods, improved blood sugar, reduced hypertension, better sleep, boosted brain and memory functioning, and more energy in the body.

You can burn about 600 calories, depending on the intensity of the exercise and your body weight, in an hour riding a stationary bike, thus making indoor cycling a better exercise for burning calories in a short period of time.


Riding a stationary bike enhances strong lower body muscles and legs. While riding, the pedaling action facilitates strength in your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings while working on your back, glutes, and core muscles. You can use a wearable device to track your progress, know your progress, and stay motivated.

3. Walking to the bus stop, school, and shop rather than driving

Walking helps to prevents heart diseases, hypertension, and strokes. Walking can help in many ways, including strengthening your muscles and bones, improving cardio-vascular fitness, improving endurance, and facilitating mood, memory, sleep, and cognition. It includes various primary muscles such as the hamstrings and quadriceps, the gluteal and abdominal muscles, the hip adductors, and the calf muscles.


4. Sit ups

Sit-ups are an important core workout that targets your abdominal muscles, lower back, and flexors. It helps in building the muscles, improving posture, and aiding digestion. You can best engage in about 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in a week.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels


Sit-ups also help you to lose weight, reduce the risk of injuries and back pain, increase flexibility, maintain good stability and balance, and enhance athletic performance by facilitating strong cores, stability, form, and proper posture, allowing one to perform at a high level during physical activity.

5. Running and jogging

Running for 15-10 minutes every day at a moderate pace reduces the risks of injuries, increases core strength, and facilitates flexibility in different muscle groups. Running engages several muscles, including hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles, upper body muscles, and abdominal muscles.


6. Aqua aerobics

Aquatic workouts provide full-body fitness because water is denser than air and provides heavier resistance, which engages more muscles while burning more calories. It also increases your strength, flexibility, and endurance while providing extra support for the joints and muscles. Water workouts are an efficient and effective way of boosting cardiovascular fitness, improving sleep, boosting moods, strengthening major muscles in the body, and helping with joint injuries or issues.

7. Choosing the stairs over the escalator (axis active)

Climbing stairs on tiptoe improves leg power and lowers the risk of falls in the elderly. It is a great way to burn maximum calories with limited time in a workout and can be easily mixed with other physical workouts like running, skipping, walking, and weight training. It also helps in maintaining healthy bones, joints, and muscles; burning fat; boosting your cardiovascular system and lungs; and strengthening the lower body.

Photo by Mart Production on Pexels


Climbing stairs repeatedly engages large body muscle groups while lifting the body with every step, thus burning more calories. It also increases muscle strength, sculpts, and tones the body better. You will feel fitter, stronger, more energetic, leaner, and younger if you climb stairs on a regular basis.

8. Resistance training

Resistance training helps to maintain balance and flexibility, weight management, a decreased fat-to-muscle ratio, and improved muscle tone and strength, which protect the joints from injuries. It prevents chronic diseases, increases bone density, reduces the risk of sarcopenia in the elderly, and helps with weight management.


9. Yoga

Yoga involves mental, physical, and spiritual exercise promoting self-healing. It builds confidence and strength, relieves stress, helps lose weight, maintains a healthier lifestyle, and boosts immunity. Practicing yoga also reduces migraines, anxiety, and hypertension and prevents diseases like arthritis. Consider practicing yoga poses when you are out of time for better relief and wellbeing.

10. Carry your groceries

Carrying heavy groceries is an excellent substitute for maintaining your physical fitness, toning up, and developing overall muscle strength. A full bag can weigh at least 15 pounds, which is enough resistance for your muscles. It strengthens the legs, shoulders, arms, and back. It helps maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of dreaded diseases such as brittle bone disease. It also makes one look leaner and fitter as it enhances muscle mass.

Photo by Liuba Bilyk on Unsplash


Performing incidental workouts through lifestyle modifications is essential for maintaining muscular conditioning, cardiovascular health, and healthy bones. The main challenge to regular engagement in workout routines is a lack of time within the day. An incidental workout is achieved when you make small modifications to normal daily tasks that contribute to daily physical activities. Playing outside with your children, gardening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, packing far away from your home, and walking to the store or school rather than driving facilitate incidental workouts.

In order to foster emotional and physical fitness, intentional workouts are just as important as incidental workouts. Structured incidental workouts such as pilates and yoga, aqua aerobics, resistance training, and swimming promote social engagement with others and are essential for emotional and mood wellbeing.



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