Why sit less

Modern life is becoming increasingly mechanised and computerised, so we tend to spend more time sitting.

It’s estimated most adults spend half to almost two-thirds (51-68%) of their lives sitting down. And that's just not healthy - research shows sitting too much isn't good for our physical or mental wellbeing. 

Even people who meet physical activity recommendations (at least 2½ hours of moderate, or 1¼ hours of vigorous, physical activity spread throughout the week) can still be at risk of developing health conditions linked to sitting too much, especially if they sit down to work. 

But if we do what we can to sit less, we can improve our health by:

  • a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • improved weight management
  • improved mental wellbeing and reduced stress
  • reduced risk of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

Australia's VicHealth has released several reports on workplace wellbeing, including a report into the effects of prolonged sitting at work, and how to reduce it. These reports are available for download at VicHealth's website.

Small steps, every day

Sitting less is about viewing any movement as an opportunity not an inconvenience.

It’s about being as active as possible whenever we can. And most of these – taking the stairs, holding a walking or standing meeting – are absolutely free.

Even just standing up helps. You could choose to stand on the bus or train to work, or stand up from your desk and stretch, or stand whenever talking on the phone.

Want more guidance? See the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating, Active Living advice booklet for adults, or this Eat Healthy Food and Move More Every Day brochure. 

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