Sit Less (Minimise Sedentary time) – Physical Activity Guidelines 2019

Inforgraphic showing that you should sit less and minimise sedentary time.

"Older adults should break up prolonged periods of being sedentary with light activity when physically possible, or at least with standing "

The message is to sit less as prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with many poor health and functional outcomes in older adults such as cardiovascular mortality, diabetes, some types of cancer and metabolic dysfunction. Worryingly some research has shown that spending large amounts of time being sedentary may increase the risk of some health outcomes, even among people who are active at the recommended levels.

The sit less message is particularly pertinent to older adults as sedentary behaviour increases with age. Yet this is one behaviour that takes very little effort and no specialist equipment or time to change. Whilst the guidelines didn't specify time limits to sitting one review of the current scientific evidence recommended taking "an active break from sitting every 30 minutes". Active break hasn't been defined but it is thought one or two minutes of movement should be sufficient. i.e during a TV ad break walk around the room a couple of times (or in my case, go make a cup of tea and do a couple of heel raises whilst you wait for the kettle to boil).

This recommendation is such an easy win for most people and there are very few people who couldn't easily start to achieve this. One of my clients used to set an alarm in another room every 40 minutes so they would have to get up and go turn it off!

Professor David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia has a fantastic analogy  "Breaking up sitting time engages your muscles and bones, and gives all our bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car's engine," says Professor Dunstan.

If you are interested in classes then I run Strength and Balance classes in the Chichester area and also do 1:1 sessions. If you are not in my area you can look on the Later Life Training Instructor directory to find someone near you who may run classes.