Sedentary Behaviours and the Risk to Your Health

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.


If you would like further information on how to reduce your sedentary behaviours, contact Absolute balance at or head to the website



Alixe Luckins (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)