The importance of reducing sedentary behaviour
Sedentary behaviour is associated with poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of being overweight or obese, developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease and may also be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Emerging evidence also suggests sedentary behaviour has a negative impact on those who suffer from depression and on mental wellbeing. Additionally, sedentary behaviour has been associated with poorer blood glucose control for people who have type 2 diabetes.
For children there is some evidence that sedentary behaviour is linked with lower levels of aerobic fitness, higher body weight and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition increased screen time (i.e. television) may lead to greater consumption of high calorie foods. Furthermore children who are more sedentary have a good chance of continuing to be sedentary as adolescents and adults.
Ways to help reduce your sedentary time
You will benefit from minimising time spent sitting each day, and from breaking up long periods of time spent being sedentary, as often as possible.
Research has identified specific benefits in glucose control when individuals incorporate 2 minutes of light intensity walking every 20 minutes of prolonged sitting. There are some activities like reading, doing work on the computer or travelling that may need to be done while you are sitting. The key is to find a healthy balance and to look for opportunities to stand up and move whenever you can. Here are some examples of ways to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting.
- Put the remote control next to the TV so that you need to get up to change the channel.
- Stand up and take a short walk during advert breaks.
- Preset the timer on your TV to turn off after an hour to remind you to get up and move more.
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