Sedentary Behaviour

This page contains information about sedentary behaviour as well as tips and ideas for minimising sedentary behaviour every day.

Page last updated: 17 February 2014

Sitting or lying down, (with the exception of sleeping), are what we call ‘sedentary’ behaviours. You can be sedentary at work, at school, at home, when travelling or during leisure time. Sedentary behaviour requires little energy expenditure. Examples of sedentary behaviour include:

  • Sitting or lying down while watching television or playing electronic games.
  • Sitting while driving a vehicle, or while travelling.
  • Sitting or lying down to read, study, write, or work at a desk or computer.
There is a difference between a person who is sedentary and a person who is physically inactive. Being ‘physically inactive’ means not doing enough physical activity (in other words, not meeting the physical activity guidelines ). However, being ‘sedentary’ means sitting or lying down for long periods. So, a person can do enough physical activity to meet the guidelines and still be considered sedentary if they spend a large amount of their day sitting or lying down at work, at home, for study, for travel or during their leisure time.

Sedentary behaviour is associated with poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. You will benefit from minimising time spent sitting each day, and from breaking up periods of time spent being sedentary, as often as possible.

Tips and Ideas for: