News & Insights 5 December 2022

The importance of sitting less and moving more

We can often find ourselves sitting down still for long periods of time and/or moving less throughout the day. Both of these can have some serious negative implications on our long-term health and it is important to take measures to increase our physical activity and decrease our sedentary time.

Sedentary behviour involves activities with an energy expenditure of ≤1.8 metabolic equivalents (METs), performed mainly in a sitting or supine position (Peacock et al., 2015; Jans et al., 2007).

Research shows that spending more time being sedentary can increase the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity (Gray, 2022; Saunders et al., 2020). In addition to being at risk of the aforementioned chronic diseases, people who “sit too much” are also at increased risk of brain and mental health issues, lower quality of life, disability and pain.

The good news is that there are a lot of different activities that we can engage in to break long periods of sedentary time. For example, going for a walk, doing some housework, dancing, gardening, commuting to work and many more! It is important to remember that physical activity is not limited to sport and structured exercise. You can explore what types of activities you enjoy doing and think about how you can introduce them to your everyday life to benefit your health and wellbeing.

Sedentary behaviour is a risk factor that you can modify by incorporating more daily movement into your life and this can take the form of a multitude of activities. That means we can all find ways to move our bodies that we enjoy! Evidence shows that it is crucial for people’s health to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives to minimise and/or break up long periods of sedentary time in order to reduce the risk of the above-mentioned health conditions (Gray, 2022). Being too sedentary is a health hazard but the good news is that you have the power to change it.

Regular physical activity is known to have health benefits in all age groups. Some of those include improved sleep and mental wellbeing, weight management, increased quality of life, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases (Reiner et al., 2013; Saxena et al., 2009).

Some health benefits of regular movement are particularly important for older adults. For instance, physical activity can also result in improvement of musculoskeletal fitness and maintaining musculoskeletal health will allow older people to perform daily activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, independently and in a safer manner (Warburton et al., 2006).

Many of us have an office-based job or do other work or study that means we find ourselves sitting still for the majority of our day. As we spend a large proportion of our adult life at work, this makes the workplace an important site for physical activity interventions to take place. However, most of those interventions focus exclusively on increasing physical activity during working hours (Gray, 2022). Whilst interventions have tried to increase participation in leisure time sport and exercise, the opportunity support people to increase their everyday movement during non-working hours has been neglected.

At KiActiv® we take into account all ~112 waking hours of the week and with the help of our wearable technology and personalized online dashboard, individuals are empowered to take control of their everyday movement. Our accredited KiActiv® Mentors, clients provide the necessary support and guidance to enable clients to optimize and self-manage their physical activity in the context of their health. That way, after the initial 12-weeks of the service are over, clients will have the necessary skills and autonomy to continue their journey towards reaching their physical activity and health goals now and in the future.

The KiActiv® Team