In general terms, Sedentary Behaviour is classed as any time you are sitting or lying down with minimal physical exertion. Common sedentary behaviours include: watching TV, playing video games, use of a computer either at home or work, driving, reading and any other activity completed while sitting or lying. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 21% of Adult Australians in 2012 reported ‘Sedentary’ levels of physical activity, with round 9 in 10 adults spending more than 8 hours a day sitting. The report from ABS also found that over half (55%) of these adults reported sitting or lying down to use the computer or a smart device, and almost half (46%) of these adults spent time sitting at work.
Recent evidence suggests that having a high level of sedentary behaviour negatively impacts your health, independent of other factors including body weight, diet, and physical activity.
In a large study of more than 200,000 Australian adults aged 45 years and older, the association between sedentary behaviour and increased risk of death within the subsequent 3 years was examined.
The findings of this study revealed the following:
· 15% increase in the risk of death (from all causes) in those sitting 8 to 11 hours per day
· 40% increase in the risk of death in those sitting 11 or more hours per day.
· The increase in risk remained the same when participation in moderate/vigorous activity was also considered.
So how do we reduce sedentary behaviours to reduce our risk?
Build activity into your daily routine: walk or cycle for short trips, use the stairs, get off the bus one stop earlier and walk or park further away. Exercise in the comfort of your own home: bodyweight exercises such as squats, pushups, lunges and sit-ups can all be completed easily in the comfort of your own home. Try a new form of exercise such as: dancing, swimming, yoga, pilates, martial arts, squash, etc. Or join a gym and attend with a gym buddy or attend group fitness classes.
Alixe Luckins (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)