Sedentary lifestyle: tips to counter its effects on health

A woman at work with a sedentary lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle is a real health problem, as much as other issues that are talked about more, such as poor nutrition or smoking. With the increasing prevalence of office work, Canadians are increasingly exposed to the negative health effects of physical inactivity. Yet habits that are easy to adopt and simple to implement can help prevent them.


In what follows, our kinesiologists discuss the issue of physical inactivity that particularly affects office workers and its health consequences. You will also find advice on how to avoid physical inactivity.


Sedentary lifestyle: the current situation

In the field of health, sedentary living refers to a lack of physical activity, which is directly related to remaining in a seated position for a good part of the day. According to a study named Directly measured physical activity of adults conducted in 2012 and 2013, Canadian adults are estimated to spend almost 10 hours a day sitting in sedentary activities. Working at a desk, driving a vehicle or taking the bus, sitting on the couch to watch television… It’s easy for office workers to spend too much of the day sitting down.


As a result, the same survey revealed that 76% of adult men and 79% of women are not active enough, i.e. they do not follow the recommendations of experts in physical activity. The WHO recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity on a weekly basis.


The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle

The consequences of lack of physical activity are many, both for physical and mental health. People who do office work are at greater risk of these consequences, as they are more likely to be sedentary.

  • Prolonged poor working posture, which leads to musculoskeletal imbalances;
  • Joint pain, lack of flexibility and even an increased risk of developing problems such as arthritis;
  • Decreased muscle and bone mass;
  • An increased risk of being overweight or obese;
  • An increased incidence of cardiovascular disease;
  • An increase in the incidence of certain cancers, including colorectal cancer;
  • Decreased overall energy levels, poorer quality of sleep, increased stress, etc.


How can sedentary lifestyles be prevented?

To avoid the consequences mentioned above, it is important to be active on a daily basis, in addition to avoiding sedentary behaviour. To do so, a few tips can be put into practice:

  • Encourage active transportation (walking, jogging, cycling) to get to work or during daily activities;
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible;
  • Practicing 30 minutes of moderate to high level physical activity at least 5 times a week;
  • Promoting good work posture when sitting at a desk helps prevent musculoskeletal problems. The ergonomists at Clinique GO™ can intervene to help you optimize your work position, even through teleconsultation ;
  • Take a break of about 5 minutes every hour of work. Take advantage of this break to take a short walk, do some stretching, go talk to a colleague, etc. ;
  • Practicing physical activity at lunchtime;
  • Encourage sports initiatives and activities within your work environment (group classes, running club, etc.), or talk to the person in charge.


A helping hand from the team at Clinique GO™

Among the many health professionals that make up the mobile team at Clinique GO™ are kinesiologists. These physical activity professionals can intervene with people of all ages to help them integrate physical activity into their daily lives in a completely safe manner. In the context of preventing the effects of sedentary living, a kinesiologist can evaluate your daily activities and recommend the best ways to include physical activity in them. Don’t hesitate to call on their services!


Francis-Desjardins Approuvé par Francis Desjardins
Président et physiothérapeute depuis 1994.
Francis Dejardins