Are you sitting too much?

Are you sitting too much?

There is ample evidence that physical activity prevents chronic disease so why is it that physical activity is not part of everyone’s regular routine? The World Health Organization (WHO) states physical inactivity is the world’s fourth most important risk factor for mortality. Shocking statistics show globally 1 in 4 adults are not active enough (1).

Physical Activity vs Exercise

Physical activity is defined as : any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.

Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive (1).

How "EASY" is it?

A pilot study performed in Vancouver titled “Everyday Activity Supports You” (Easy) in 2013 had 25 healthy women aged 55-70 who were not engaging in strength training or more than 30 min of moderate exercise per week. The researchers divided the group in half with half receiving education, social support, Fitbit to track steps, distance, calories etc. and meetings with exercise professionals to create an individualized physical activity program. The Control group received education however did not receive information on importance of exercise or how to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Over 6 months the participants were encouraged to ‘Sit less to move more’. The goal was to reduce sitting time then incrementally increase physical activity as measured with a step counter. The main intervention was education and awareness about physical activity.

At the end of the 6 month study the Easy group had an average increase of 2080 steps per day compared to the control group. Because of this there was reduction in blood pressure and an average between group difference in weight loss.

So what you can do?

  1. Reduce your sitting time- Set a timer and get up from your desk, couch etc every 30 min

  2. Track your steps- Use a step counter (pedometer) or a fancy app on your phone. Track your average daily steps then try to increase by 5% each week.


(1) WHO: Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009.

(2) Ashe M et al: “Not just another walking program’: Everyday Activity Supports You (EASY) model- a randomized pilot study for a parallel randomized control trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2015, 1:4

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