real life

Listen up: Here's how to exercise... without really exercising.

The Natural Chip Company
Thanks to our brand partner, The Natural Chip Company

Summer bodies are made in winter.
Don’t skip leg day.
Sweat is fat crying.
Go hard or go home.

You’ve got to love the cult of fitness. We’re religiously reading and repeating these phrases on social media – and in real life too – every single day. So much so that our abs tighten at merely the thought of the gym. #WishfulThinking.

I do love the gym. But you know what I love more than the gym? Incidental exercise. The type you can just smoothly incorporate into your everyday life, because let’s face it, we’re all busy (or as some people like to hammer home when you ask “how are you?”, “Busy-busy!”).

On the days when gym time miraculously escapes my schedule, I comfort myself where possible with words like “Oh, at least you walked to the bus stop”. The bus stop being less than two whole minutes from my door, but as any FitBit wearer will tell you, every step counts.

Aussie Instagram sensation Celeste Barber knows what I mean. In her latest video collab with Mamamia, Life Hacks For Real People: Exercise, she shares an everyday tip for improving upper body strength:

“Do two weeks of shopping and try and get it in the house in one trip.”

Celeste isn’t alone. I consulted my friends and colleagues about our own random acts of everyday exercise.

Yes, you too can incorporate these 15 “exercises” into your daily regime (the term is loose, you’ve been warned):

1. Charge your phone on your partner’s bedside table so you always have to walk around to get it. Genius.
2. Put your bottle of wine in the top cupboard so you have to reach up to get it. Lats and biceps, baby.
3. Make shower scrubbing time SQUAT TIME.
4. Walk down the road to get that packet of chips from the convenience store. *GOLD STAR*
5. Listen to a yoga podcast while driving.
6. When your colleague offers to bring you cake from the kitchen, turn it down. Get up and make the trip yourself.
7. Set the time on your phone a little late so you’re always running for the bus. Extra pressure equals extra puff.
8. Clench your glutes during that marathon six-hour blonde touch-up at the hairdresser’s.

WORK. WORK. WORK. Image: Supplied

9. Baby made a noise? Pick them up for a cuddle. The best kind of weightlifting (One mum I know swears by "the sheer act of picking up a 10kg baby like 10 times a day").
10. Got long hair? Always style in fancy up-dos. Feel the burn in your arms as you hold your hair up for AGES.
11. Oh no, the sink's full of dishes again. Scrub-a-dub-dub with those strong biceps.
12. Keep your cheese in the crisper so you have to bend down to get it (if your fridge is that way inclined).
13. Stroll around a shopping centre for hours. So strenuous, so worth it.
14. Participate in your kids' yoga practice by adopting the shavasana position, with the TV just in your line of sight.

Gah, I'm sweating already.

What's your go-to incidental exercise? Join the conversation in the comments below.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner, The Natural Chip Company.