Move Yourself to Better Health


Physical Activity

Sedentary Time

Outdoor Play For Schools For Workplaces Sedentary Time Walking 

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Sitting is the new smoking

Attitudes towards smoking in the 1970s are like attitudes towards sitting now – a lot of people are doing it, and doing it everywhere. We are slowly becoming more aware about the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time, but like smoking in the 1970s, a lot of people aren’t aware of the negative effects.
Like smoking, sitting has a large amount of research showing us how damaging sedentary time is to our health. Sedentary time is linked to dying earlier, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure , some cancers, and mental health problems.

man sitting with clock and no entry sign
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What is sedentary time?

Sedentary time is any time spent with very little movement, usually sitting.

standing at desk

Sedentary time can include:

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Sleeping does not count as sedentary time.  Sleep is important for your health and adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every day.

Standing can improve your health:

Spending too much time sitting can take years off your life and put your health at risk. 

Some of the things you are more at risk for are:

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TV viewing is the most common sedentary behaviour for adults, in their leisure time.

(Tremblay, 2010)


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Video - Dr. Mike Evans: Let's Make Our Day Harder Video


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Sedentary time and your health

How is sedentary time linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes?

Sedentary Time and Your Health

Sedentary Time and Your Health

Sedentary Time and Your Health (PDF)

Having too much fat and sugar in the blood:

Over time this can cause:

Does exercise make up for the time I spend sitting?

 

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While you may be meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, it is also important to limit the amount of time you spend sitting.  To get maximum health benefits, it is important to be physically active, stand when you can, and get up every 30 minutes.

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Tips for adults

standing at desk

At home

At work

While travelling

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Sedentary time at work

The workplace can be a great place to promote awareness about sedentary time. This is because many adults spend 2/3 of their day at work and sitting might be part of the job.

There are many tasks at work that are usually done sitting, such as:

It’s important to stand when you can or get up every 30 minutes at work. We have some resources to help including posters, fact sheets, and booklets. Take a look at our resources or workplaces can contact their Public Health Nurse for more assistance with addressing this topic in their workplace. If you are a Durham Region workplace but do not have a Public Health Nurse, please visit Healthy Workplaces

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Sedentary guidelines for children and youth

Guidelines for Children 5-11 Years

Guidelines for Early Years 0-4 Years (PDF)

Guidelines for Children 5-11 Years

Guidelines for Children 5-11 Years (PDF)

Guidelines for Youth 12-17 Years

Guidelines for Youth 12-17 Years (PDF)

kids playing with electronics

Sedentary guidelines for infants and preschoolers ages 0-4

Sedentary guidelines for children ages 5-11 and youth ages 12-18

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Tips for infants, children, and youth

girl playing with hula hoop

Spending less time sitting can help children and youth:

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Sleeping does not count as sedentary time.  Sleep is important for your health and school aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep every day.



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