Walking to the photocopier and fidgeting at your desk are contributing more to your cardiorespiratory fitness than you might think.
Researchers have found that both the duration and intensity of incidental physical activities (IPA) are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. The intensity of the activity seems to be particularly important, with a cumulative 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity throughout the day offering significant benefits for fitness and long-term health.
“It’s encouraging to know that if we just increase our incidental activity slightly--a little bit more work around the house, or walking down the hall to speak with a co-worker as opposed to sending an email--we can really benefit our health in the long-term,” says Ashlee McGuire, the study’s lead researcher and a graduate student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. “Best of all, these activities don’t take up a lot of time, they’re not difficult to do, and you don’t have to go to a gym.”
Ms McGuire and fellow researcher Robert Ross, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, define IPA as non-purposeful physical activity accrued through activities of daily living, such as doing housework, climbing stairs or walking around the office.