Sedentary behaviour: The facts

Sitting too much

We don't move enough throughout the day and it's affecting our health and our businesses

Physical inactivity, also known as sedentary behaviour, is a state in which your energy expenditure is only marginally above resting levels, typically characterised at home or in the work place by not moving for long periods of time.

Our sedentary behaviour is now strongly linked to a whole range of mental and physical health problems such as:

  • Cancer of the lungs, colon and uterus
  •  Heart disease         
  •  Diabetes
  •  Weight gain through poor digestion
  • Muscle atrophy of legs and glutes
  •  Hip joint and spinal problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins

Aside from the obvious impacts on our personal health and well being, our businesses are suffering too. According to the Australian Department of Health, the loss in productivity due to obesity, absenteeism, attending work when sick, and premature death is estimated to cost $6.4 billion dollars every year.

With our work lives making a significant contribution to the 9.5 million Australians whose lifestyles are classified as sedentary, there are also the cognitive and psychological effects of physical inactivity within each business to consider.

A 2016 study on sedentary behaviour and cognitive function published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that sedentary behaviour is associated with lower cognitive (or brain) performance, meaning:

  • Decreased focus
  • Less motivation

Likewise the Safe Work Australia sedentary work report, showed that sitting for more than six hours per day at work has been associated with increased psychological distress among Australian office workers, meaning:

  • Higher staff turnover
  • Less job satisfaction and happiness
  • More instances of a negative work culture