01329 829444 / 0800 4581388

Sitting: the inactive killer?

School Of Personal Training Posted Feb 20, 2015 Future Fit Training

Our exercise referral specialist Anthony attended an ukactive Vanguard Group event, where exercise and health professionals meet to discuss current topics.

Sitting: the inactive killer?

It was obvious that one main theme ran through the academic presentations – inactivity. The fitness industry is self-obsessed with making people more active with guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week (Start Active, Stay Active, 2011). The question raised was `What about the remaining 9930 minutes each week?` Is this enough time to be active or could we engage in more `less inactive` behaviours throughout the day?

Most people in the UK spend 10-16 waking hours sitting (BHFNC, 2012). We currently sit more at work with on average 175 LESS Kcals expended per day due to this sedentary behaviour (Church et al. 2011). Katzmarzyk et al (2009) attribute a 60% greater risk for CHD mortality if almost all of a person`s waking hours are spent seated. You may think that these statistics only apply to those of us who do not achieve the government guidelines as stated above, you would be wrong!  Dempsey et al (2014) maintain that less sitting is as important as increasing physical activity levels, comparing active people who are seated on a day-to-day basis to `exercising smokers`!

In an average working day of 7.5 hours, you would expend an extra 0.8Kcals per minute if standing (Buckley et al. 2014), equalling 360Kcals more than seated counterparts.  If you consider how many Kcals you burn during your actual `activity` sessions, it would not be surprising if this standing figure was greater on the majority of occasions.

Of course these figures are based on a working day, add into the mix sitting during breakfast, commuting to work, seated lunch, commuting back home, seated dinner and watching TV and you can soon see how our technologically advanced `sitting orientated` society has taken over. The event was not in any way just focused on Kcal expenditure and physical inactivity. It also looked to address physical inactivity consequences for blood glucose levels, altered gene expressions and the lack of academic research into the effectiveness of current exercise referral schemes (for more on this, take a look at this article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine here>>.

In conclusion, it has to be said that less sitting is NOT a direct replacement for 150 minutes of physical activity per week, but should be seen as an `add on` to improve health risk factor status (Dempsey et al, 2014). Some food for thought!



Buckley et al (2014) Occupational environment med. 71, (2),: 109-11.

British Heart Foundation National Centre (2012) Evidence Briefing. Sedentary Behaviour.

Church et al. (2011) PLos ONE 6 (5):e19657. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019657

Dempsey et al. (2014) Curr Diabetes report 14:522

Department of Health  (2011) Start Active, Stay Active – A Report on physical activity for health from the four counties` home Chief Medical Officers. London : DoH.

Katzmarzyk et al. (2009) Medicine Science Sports Exercise; 41:998-1005

Are you ready to become a Personal Trainer?

Call for more information

0800 458 1388

Free Trial Prospectus & Price List