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Before you work out from home

What makes exercise so important and which types are most effective.

Woman walking
Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Small adjustments to your life could have a big impact on your health.

The most effective form of exercise isn’t “exercise” at all

Member exclusive by Emmanuel Stamatakis

Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 meters to the station to catch your train? If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity.

Our paper, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows this type of regular, incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing is likely to produce health benefits, even if you do it in 30-second bursts, spread over the day.

In fact, incorporating more high-intensity activity into our daily routines—whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigor or walking uphill to buy your lunch—could be the key to helping all of us get some high quality exercise each day. And that includes people who are overweight and unfit.