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Reducing Sedentary Behaviour

by | Mar 10, 2022 | Exercising & Lifestyle

One-third of the global population aged 15 years and older engages in insufficient physical activities, which can really affect your overall health. Sedentary lifestyles are increasing worldwide due to the of a lack of available spaces for exercise, increased office work, time spent commuting, and the increase of time spent on activities such as watching the television and playing video games.

The increase of sedentary time has many impacts on your overall health, including weight gain, and elevated chronic inflammation caused by sedentary behaviour leads to risk factors for cancer. Therefore, reducing sedentary time and increasing physical activity are both important to promote your overall health.

A recent American College of Sports Science study published by the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise summarised the evidence for an association between excessive levels of sedentary behaviour and negative health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality.

It is clear that moderate-to-high intensity physical activity should be part of everyone’s daily routine, especially for those who sit for large portions of the day. New guidelines emphasise that for substantial health benefits, adults should be active for at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of high-intensity exercise.

We are all faced with daily challenges that keep us from engaging in consistent physical activity – whether you’re a student or a CEO. Rather than focusing on how to make more time, think about how you change your approach to activity.

Think creatively about how to find opportunities to move at work and at home. Identify times throughout the day to accumulate short bursts of movement to start and if they’re successful add in some more specific goals related to time and intensity. 

Fortunately, evidence shows that activity occurring in short bursts (even as little as a few minutes at a time), multiple times each day, can still result in marked health benefits — a much less intimidating goal for busy working adults. In fact, a recent study reported that compared with inactive individuals, those who exercised for an average of 15 minutes per day reduced their risk of all-cause mortality by 14% and had a 3-year longer life expectancy!

The brochure linked below, produced by the American College of Sport Medicine, provides a helpful guide to increasing your activity in manageable bursts to have a strong overall impact on your health.

ACSM Brochure

Links to further reading:

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

Strategies to Increase Physical Activity

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