Fidgeting your way to fitness

June 28, 2011

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 throughout the day offering significant benefits for fitness and .

"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.

Since a large proportion of the Canadian population doesn't participate in a more structured, higher intensity exercise regime, Ms McGuire and Dr. Ross wanted to find out whether the time and intensity of incidental physical activity had any impact on cardiorespiratory fitness.

None of the study's participants met Canada's and were engaging solely in incidental . Activity levels were gauged using an accelerometer, which measures the duration and intensity of movement. Participants wore the for a week and also took part in a test to measure their cardiorespiratory .

These findings were recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Exercise good for the spine

April 24, 2017

A world-first study has shown that specific physical activity benefits the discs in our spines and may help to prevent and manage spinal pain.

Is soda bad for your brain? (and is diet soda worse?)

April 20, 2017

Americans love sugar. Together we consumed nearly 11 million metric tons of it in 2016, according to the US Department of Agriculture, much of it in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages like sports drinks and soda.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.