Get fit without even noticing – 12 ways to fit more incidental exercise into your life

12 ways to fit more incidental exercise into your life - Champagne Cartel

Incidental exercise is the bomb. That’s when you’re getting buff when you don’t even realise you’re working out – like the couple of blocks you walk to work from the train station, and the repetitive elbow movement involved in eating nine cupcakes.

But it all adds up, so it’s all worth doing. (Although if you do the cupcake thing, they might work against you in a calories in–calories out analysis, if you’re concerned about that stuff).

I am dead keen to fit more workout in my days because I have one of those jobs that largely involves me sitting on my rump, so I put the call out on Facebook* – and even did some of my own research – to come up with this definitive list of every single form of incidental exercise you can possibly do on earth.**

  1. Get off the bus/train, or park a few extra blocks from work. This is a double win because you have to walk further in the morning and in the afternoon.
  2. Stretch while watching TV, or get up during each ad break to do something (we’re talking dishes, go to the toilet, check on the kids – not grab another Tim Tam).
  3. Take the stairs. Duh.
  4. Do the ironing. Apparently it burns 150 calories per hour. Personally I’d rather run a marathon than do an hour of ironing, but I know some of your are freaks who love that crease down the front of your jeans, so go for it.
    150714 incidental exercise woman ironing in maid outfit
    No wonder she looks like this: standing, clenching those cheeks, ironing and quite possibly doing her kegels. Nice work, lady!
  5. Find opportunities to stand more often, like when you’re taking a call or when you’re chatting to a colleague. Not so much when you pee, but if you do that prissy ladyhover, your thighs must be bangin’ already. Gillian has a standing desk, which is pretty rad. I need to get me one of those.
  6. Play with your dog. Don’t just walk it to the dog park and sit on the chair throwing the ball with that long plastic ball holder thingy – really get in there, run around with Mitzi and wrestle with her for her toys. If you don’t get your face bitten off, you will be a little bit fitter. Cool.
  7. Tense your arse cheeks (or glutes if you want to be fancy) when you walk. Feel that? That’s exercise, baby.
  8. Fidget – don’t stand still. Rock on your toes, move from foot to foot, fiddle with stuff. Fidgeters can burn up to 350 extra calories per day than non-fidgeters. Of course they are also more likely to have anxiety disorders but I’m pretty sure there’s no causality in that direction.
  9. Swap your coffee meeting for a stroll-and-chat instead. People think this is way less weird now than they would have five years ago. Probably.
  10. Use a basket instead of a trolley at the supermarket. That jumbo pack of cat litter, carton of nappies and six litres of milk will have those guns blazing in no time. Just be sure to change arms, otherwise you’ll swim in circles.
    12 ways to fit more incidental exercise into your life - Champagne Cartel
    Leslie was so good at doing her pelvic floor exercises, nobody else in the staff meeting had any idea.
  11. Do those pelvic floor exercises every time a certain reminder comes up. Maybe it’s when you’re sitting at red lights, maybe it’s when you are on the phone at work, or maybe it’s when your kids shout, “Muuuuuuuuuuum”. Just kidding, I’m pretty sure you’d break your vagina if you did that.
  12. Clean my house. Or your house. Whatever.

What have I missed? What’s your favourite form of incidental exercise?


* I fully intended on thanking everyone who contributed to that list by name, but when I went to write the post, I’d lost it all. I searched and searched Facebook to try to find the post again but couldn’t. Sorry bout that; please know your contributions were all very much appreciated!

** Yeah, nah, not really.

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • you are hilarious! … love your list!
    I’m all for incidental excersize … I can’t even spell the word!
    best form of incidentals are wiping down the shower after every shower! not because I’m house proud but I know it’s doing me good! spinal twists, deep lunges, kegels etc!
    I walk up and down our stairs often! if I’m at my computer I have tp get up and walk around every half hour or so! maybe I’ve got add!
    have a good one guys! love m:)X

  • Extra added weights bonus when doing the grocery shopping with a basket, needing 3L of milk and holding a 13kg two year old in the other arm?

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