Sit less, Move More

In a day we have 24 hours of which on an average we spent 8 hours sleeping, we have 16 hours to fulfill all the other activities. But did you know that on an average, adults sit for nine hours a day and school children almost spend over half of their day sitting. It is a routine to spend most part of our sitting which includes commute, work, meal, and leisure time during the week. With the invention of smartphones and access to most of the things at our finger tips, has only increased our sedentary behavior. The phrase “sedentary behaviour” comes from the Latin word “sedere,” which means, “to sit.” Although the human body is made to be in frequent motion, people can sit for many hours at a time, day after day.

Sedentary behaviour can be simply defined as too much sitting, as a distinct concept from too little exercise. On the other hand, Physical inactivity is defined as a level of activity that is insufficient to meet current physical activity guidelines, which has long been known to be a major contributor to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. Too much sitting saps your energy, makes your joints stiff, gain weight and affects your overall health. Sitting occupies the majority of the daily waking hours in most adults and has become even more pervasive owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can change that! By ‘sitting less and moving more’.

Get up and simply move more throughout the day, even if you go to the gym and especially if you don’t. Replacing sedentary behaviour with any intensity of physical activity (that is, movement) will have health benefits, with greater benefits seen when sedentary behaviour is replaced with moderate–vigorous-intensity physical activity. Furthermore, high levels of moderate physical activity can eliminate the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and help in significant weight loss.

Sitting less and moving more might be addressed in clinical practice through a ‘staircase approach’. This approach involves modest transitional steps, beginning with a focus on reducing overall sitting time through initially increasing standing and moving and then progressing to increasing light-intensity physical activity. Progressive increases in movement through sitting less and moving more can provide a base for transitioning to higher-intensity physical activities over the longer term. The first step could be a small but manageable step focused on interrupting sitting time with light-intensity physical activity before taking the larger step of including more light-intensity physical activity throughout the day.

‘Sit less and Move more’- Time to get started

  • Involve yourself in 30-45 minutes of physical activity every day for at least 5 times a week.
  • Limit your time on social media, TV, and phone.
  • When watching TV, take some breaks during commercials to walk around the house or do some housework.
  • Replace watching TV in the evening with taking a walk.
  • Take staircase instead of an elevator.
  • Take a walk or bicycle to near buy places at home or work.
  • Try standing while you read a newspaper or check messages on your mobile phone.
  • Take a break every 30 minutes to stand and stretch – set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you during work.
  • Stand to do easy tasks at work, such as a stand-up meeting or phone call.
  • Consider using a sit-stand workstation.
  • Choose to do manual tasks where you can, such as washing your car by hand instead of using a drive-through car wash.
  • Consider an exercise plan that gets you going irrespective of where you are.
  • Take regular breaks during long car trips.