How long have you been sitting today? Maybe you sit to eat breakfast, at your work desk, in the classroom, in the car, on the train, and in front of the TV in the evenings. It all adds up.

We now know that sitting time is a health risk for children and adults, with both long and short term impacts. To reduce your risk of health problems, you need to be aware of how much you sit and try to move more throughout the day.

Sitting less is important no matter how active you are. Even if you’re getting enough exercise in your day, you still might be sitting too much.

What you can do

While there aren’t recommendations yet on how much sitting is too much, we support a physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines which say that adults should:

  • minimize the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting
  • break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Why it’s important to sit less

More and more research is showing that it’s not good for your health to be sitting or lying down for long periods during waking hours. Researchers call this ‘sedentary behaviour’.

There’s evidence that shows adults who sit less throughout the day have a lower risk of early death, particularly from heart disease. Sedentary behaviour is associated with increased risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Evidence also suggests that even if you meet guidelines for how much physical activity to do, this may not help reduce the risks of sitting too much. Health benefits are greatest for people who sit less, AND move more.

Tips for sitting less

It only takes small changes to your routine to cut down how much time you spend sitting each day.

At work

  • Take regular breaks from your computer. Get up and take a break every 30 minutes.
  • Rotate standing tasks and sitting tasks across your shift.

Find more tips for sitting less at work on our Active workplaces page.

At home

  • Don’t want to miss your favourite TV program? Stand up to watch it and do the ironing or wash the dishes at the same time.
  • Stand to read the paper.
  • Wash your car by hand instead of using the drive-through car wash.
  • Move around the house while you check your text messages and emails on your mobile phone.

While travelling

  • Offer up your seat on the bus or train, especially on shorter journeys.
  • Leave your car at home. Walk or cycle at least part of the way to where you’re going. Take public transport and walk to and from the stops/stations. Or park your car further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  • Plan regular breaks on long car trips.

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