Mazlan has a passion for health and fitness. He enjoys yoga, cycling, home workouts, and healthy food.
Too Lazy to Exercise
How do you respond to a question 'What are some non-traditional or incidental things I can do that will count as "exercise"?' or 'Can you recommend any incidental exercise for people who are lazy to exercise?'
After going through the exercise routines that were taught at the gym, I realized our daily chores, if done properly, are actually exercises in themselves.
Incidental Exercise Ideas
So without even realizing it the simple activities such as mopping the floor, washing your car are actually incidental exercises.
Exercise Workouts with Incidental Avtivities
The basic information you need to remember is to exercise your body core (this is the belly, the mid and lower back) the lower and upper body. You also need to incorporate strength and cardio in these exercises.
Incidental Physical Activity
Therefore my recommended incidental exercises will fall within this grouping, to ensure a balanced incidental exercise routine. I also do yoga and will recommend easy yoga poses that you can do, without even realizing that you are exercising!
Incidental Exercise at Home
If you Google incidental exercises for people who are lazy or hate to exercise, you find several recommendations which include using the stairs instead of the elevators, etc. The list goes on to even suggest placing your TV remote control away from you. But it does not describe the benefits of the suggested action.
I will break up my suggestions based on the body parts that you will exercise. You will then be aware of your action and appreciate the improvements that come out of that activity. Hopefully, this will motivate you to take up the 'real exercise'.
Incidental Exercises for the Lower Body
- When answering phone calls: Don't sit as you would normally do. Instead, stand next to a wall with your back flat against it. Then, slide down until you come to a 90° position like you are sitting in a chair. Your knee will be at a 90° angle to the floor. Stay in this position throughout your telephone conversation. Initially, the 90° may be difficult. If this is the case, go slightly higher. As you get used to it, make 90 degrees your target. This will give you a nice sexy thigh.
- Walking: Walking is both a good exercise for the lower body and the cardiovascular system i.e. your heart and lung. So, find every opportunity to walk. Like parking your car a bit further away than your usual spot when you go shopping, etc. Walking outdoors also means you will be walking on both even and uneven surfaces. This indirectly exercises your core (abs and back) as well as improving your sense of balance. Other ideas to motivate you to walk is to get off the bus, one stop earlier, or take your dog for a walk. Remember to wear good walking shoes.
- Standing Calf Raises: When you raise your leg as per the above photo (and go up and down in that position) you are exercising your calf muscle. Even if you hate to exercise, you can do this when watching TV, brushing your teeth, standing in a lift, or when you need to take something at higher level (watch your balance) If possible, repeat this movement, say 5 times and increase it as you deem fit. Stronger calf muscles give you better balance and stability and reduce the risk of knee and ankle injuries.
- Using the Stairs: Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of the escalators or elevators. If you are going to the 10th floor, either stop at the 8th or 12th floor, then walk up or down the stairs. These are good exercises for the legs and for the cardiovascular muscles. It can lower your bad cholesterol. Research has also shown that walking down the stairs can reduce blood sugar levels. ( As reported by Dr. Heinz Drexel in the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in 2004). I hope this will motivate you to use the stair, even though you are lazy to exercise. If you have a knee problem, then walking DOWN can be a challenge. So walk UP the stair instead and use the stair railing for support and balance.
Incidental Exercises for the Upper Body
- Mopping: Mopping the floor not only exercises your upper body but also your oblique (i.e. your side abs muscle)
- Vacuum or Sweep the floor: This is good for the shoulder but does not exercise your oblique as much as mopping. Play your favorite music while sweeping or vacuuming, and if you dance, it helps with your body coordination and makes you feel good.
- Bathing your dog or cat: If you hate to exercise but have to bath your cat or dog, then this routine will work out your shoulder and arm.
- Lifting Baby Up: If you have a baby, then the playful lifting of the baby up and down can be a great way to exercise both your core and your upper body, especially your shoulder. A word of caution here: You are not tossing the baby into the air but only lifting the baby up and down between your chest and head level, keeping the baby within your grips all the time. Check the baby's reaction every time you are about to lift. The safest way to do this is by sitting down with a good mattress underneath.
- Beating the carpet: If weather permits, instead of vacuuming the carpet, try hanging out the carpet for a good beating with a carpet rod. This exercises your arm, shoulder, and abs including your oblique. Wear a good face mask for the dust.
Incidental Exercises for the Core (Belly and Mid & Lower Back)
The exercises described earlier for the Upper Body also benefit the core. The following are additional incidental exercises for your core:
- Lifting Stuff: Lifting piles of newspaper, plates, laundry bags with both hands, and other lifting actions can exercise your front abs. Lifting with your left hand will exercise your right side oblique muscle. Likewise, lifting with your right hand will exercise your left side oblique muscle. However, when lifting do as follows to reduce chances of back injury:
- Lift the object as close as possible to your body.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees while keeping your back straight.
- Then tighten your stomach muscle and lift the stuff.
- This will reduce any unnecessary force on your back muscle.
- Laughter: Surprisingly, laughter will also exercise your core. So, watch a good comedy or listen to a good joke and laugh out loud. You will be relieving some of your stress levels as well as exercise your abs muscle at the same time.
Do you know that having sex can raise your heartbeat and is a good form of aerobic exercise? It improves your blood circulation since the sexual movements will pump oxygen around the body. An incidental exercise that you will enjoy.
Incidental Exercises For Full Body Workout
The following incidental exercises will work out the whole body which includes the lower and upper body and your core. If done at a faster pace it can also be a cardio workout.
- Washing and vacuuming your car
- Gardening: Includes mowing the lawn, sweeping the leaves.
- Shovel the snow: If you live in a snowy location.
- Clean-up campaign: Volunteer for your local community clean-up campaign or other physical activities organized by them, or by your children's school, etc. Be active and participate fully as these will burn your calories more.
- Join your kids in their physical games. You will be surprised how exhausting this can be.
Yoga Poses - Your Incidental Exercise
Most of us imagine yoga as some form of exercise that is difficult and you need to be flexible to practice it. Although it is true to a certain extend, there are some poses that are very easy. You can do it without even realizing you are doing yoga.
Good examples of easy yoga are the Diamond Pose (Vajrasana Pose), Savasana Pose, and Eye Exercise. These are not incidental in the true meaning of doing something casually. I included them in this article as it is easy to exercise even if you are lazy.
The Diamond Pose
The next time you watch TV sit on the floor (carpeted floor will be better) as in the Diamond Pose (see photo). This seated posture is achieved by sitting on your heels by placing your legs, feet, and knee together. Keep your back straight and place your palms on top of your thighs or press your palms together in front of your chest as in namaste. Hold this position for as long as you can.
This pose is a good aid for the digestive system and will minimize the acidity and gas in your stomach. You can practice this pose after your meal or any time that is convenient to you.
The diamond pose also gives relief to your back and waist pain. It is also a good pose for women who suffer from menstrual disorders. For pregnant women, practice this pose on a regular basis for easier childbirth.
The Savasana Pose
This is a resting pose, but not the same as sleeping. This pose helps relax your body and mind. If you had a tough and tiring day, this is a great pose to practice. It is easy to exercise for people who hate to exercise.
To do this pose, lie on the floor as per the photograph. Spread your leg about one foot apart. Lay your arm on the side with the palm facing upwards.
Relax your whole body including the face and mind. Breathe naturally. Stay in this pose for about 5 to 10 minutes.
To exit, roll your whole body to your left side, then to your right side. Then from your right side, raise your body slowly by pressing your palm to the floor. Your head should come up last. Then sit upright with your eye close for about 1 minute, slowly open your eye. You feel refreshed and rejuvenated after doing this pose.
So whenever you feel tired and need a quick fix, do this pose.
This is the easiest exercise even if you are lazy to exercise. When your eye feels tired do this simple eye exercise to strengthen the eye muscles. Without turning your head, move your gaze as follow:
- Move your eye up, then down. Do this 5 times, then continue with
- Moving your eye to the right, then left. Do this 5 times, then continue with
- Moving your eye to the top right, then bottom left. Do this 5 times, then continue with
- Moving your eye to the top left, then bottom right. Do this 5 times, then continue with
- Rolling your eyes clockwise, then counterclockwise.
Breathe normally when you do this. You can watch the video below for another version of the eye exercise.
How to do Eye Exercise
Check With Your Doctor
Just to be on the safe side consult your doctor before attempting the above recommendations. The incidental exercises may sound gentle, but your doctor will guide you as to what will be the best option to take.
Try These Incidental Exercises
Exercise can boost your energy level as well as your mood. It also improves your thinking by increasing the hormones in the body. Exercise can also reduce stress. The benefits are manifold. I sincerely hope you will finally progress from incidental exercise to the 'proper exercise'
Enjoy your day.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Mazlan A
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 03, 2012:
Hi Happyboomernurse, thank you for your nice comment. thanks for dropping by.
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 03, 2012:
Hi Budman610, that's a good idea..hmm have to start working on this. Thanks for the idea.
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 03, 2012:
Hi thumbi7, good to hear from you again. Yes you are right, our daily activities, if done consciously, are useful exercises..unfortunately sitting down writing articles for our hubpages, which is my routine daily activity, doesn't burn much energy!!
JR Krishna from India on March 03, 2012:
It is a marvellous attempt on explaining how the routine daily activities can be transformed consciously into useful exercises.
Budman610 from Ohio on March 03, 2012:
Good hub! Maybe you can write a part two on exercise in the office.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 03, 2012:
What an excellent, comprehensive answer to a great question. I think that adding the muscle groups that benefit from these common activities really gave your suggestions impact.
Voted up across the board except for funny.