What exactly is sedentary behaviour? Sedentary behaviour is not the same as not getting enough physical activity. The definition of sedentary behaviour by "Sedentary Behaviour Research Network" is any waking behaviour of <1.5 metabolic equivalent (MET) in a sitting, lying down or reclining posture. Examples of sedentary behaviour includes long hours of sitting, driving or laying on the couch.
You could be both physically active and sedentary at the same time. If you're exercising 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes per day, but you sit for more than 8 hours per day at work or when you get off work, you could be at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. In a recent cross-sectional study across 44978 employees by Kallings et al. (2021), employees who reported sitting almost all the time at work generally have poorer health and back/neck pain.
The global recommendations on physical activity for general health is at least 150 minutes of exercise per week or 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days per week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. Moderate intensity exercise can be defined as 60% to 70% of maximum intensity when you start to perspire and increase your heart rate and breathing. We would normally recommend the 'talk test' to generally assess your exercise intensity by exercising to the point where you can still talk but cannot sing.
Here are some lifestyle tips to get your started with reducing your sedentary behaviour
1. Use any opportunity for movement
This includes reducing motorised time or sitting down on the bus/train. You can try to get off one station before your destination to walk the distance. Try to take short breaks from long periods of sitting by standing up and walking to get coffee or say hi! to a friend. To reach that 30-minutes a day of physical activity, you can break it down to 10-minutes each time, 3 times a day.
2. Start getting healthier by WALKING
Walking is a great starting point if you haven't been exercising for a long time. You can start tracking your steps each day as your baseline. Nearly every smartphone has a pedometer installed or your can easily download a step counter from the app store and start tracking. Just increasing your steps by 2000 steps a day is an achievable goal. So let's get walking.
3. HIIT workouts for those who do not have time
HIIT workout consists of short bouts of intense exercise for a short duration of time is a quick and effective workout for the general population especially for those who do not have enough time on their hands. It is a great way to get your daily dose of workout without requiring much time. Click on the link below for a 3-minutes workout routine by one of our coaches.
4. Dedicate your time to being more active on the weekends
The rise of weekend warriors (people who exercise intensely on weekend when they have spare time) are becoming more common with our hectic work schedule. It has been said that the health benefits of 5-days a week exercise may be equivalent to the weekend warrior workout routine. Why not challenge yourself to a hike and explore Hong Kong at the same time? Click HERE to see the list for "Best Hiking trails in Hong Kong" by Time Out Hong Kong.
5. Any physical activity movement is better than no movement at all.
If you're thinking to yourself "Are you sitting too often?", you probably are. So stand up, move around for 5 minutes after every hour of sitting. Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.