How is a Sedentary Lifestyle Affecting Our Health?


How is a Sedentary Lifestyle Affecting Our Health?

Doctors and other medical professionals often use the term ‘sedentary lifestyle’ to describe someone who engages in no or little regular physical activity or movement. It describes a person – regardless of whether they are a child or an adult – who does not do sufficient physical exercise (or even enough day-to-day movement) to be healthy and fit.

A colloquial term for those who are spending their days sedentary is a ‘couch potato’!

What’s contributing to our sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle has (unfortunately) become more apparent in many Australians, and there are a few reasons why.

What's contributing to out sedentary lifestyle?
Technology is the big caveat here. Don’t get us wrong: technology is amazing and we love it! But the ease at which we can access information, watch movies, play games, and talk to our friends has resulted in a lifestyle where we simply don’t move as often.

Back in the day, to create entertainment, we’d play board games, or ride our bikes around the street. We didn’t have tablets to play Candy Crush – instead we walked to the shops and bought ourselves candy treats.

We’ve become accustomed to this sort of behaviour, and for those Gen Y-ers who have grown up using an iPad and can navigate their way around an iPhone better than Baby Boomers, they’re getting used to a dangerous practice that can have adverse health effects in the future.

Manual labour has also found itself competing with machines and computers. Many physically based jobs have, over the past several decades – as technology improved – been replaced with automatic machinery. This shift from physical labour to office jobs is a key contributor.

Physical activity vs. exercise:

These are two terms that are often interchanged, but they’re not entirely the same.

You see, all exercise is physical activity, but not all physical activity is exercise.

Physical activating refers to any body movement, for any purpose, such as:

  • Standing on the train
  • Climbing up and down stairs
  • Carrying in the supermarket bags from the car
  • Vacuuming the house
  • Playing with children
  • Washing a car

Basically, it is any bodily movement that requires energy.

Exercise is a sublet of physical activity, and is defined as movement that is “planned, structured, and repetitive”, with the aim of improving and maintaining overall physical fitness and wellness.

Both physical activity and exercise are beneficial to your health, and can improve your heart health.

What can you do to combat a sedentary lifestyle (outside of the office)?

In the office, we, of course, recommend height adjustable desks. You can switch between sitting and standing with one of our electric desks as often as needed, throughout your entire workday. Memory settings remember your favourite positions, so you can enjoy precise and appropriate height settings when you’re sitting and standing.

For more information on standing desks, the workplace, and the dangers of prolonged sitting, you can check out the following blog posts:

 5 features you should look for in a standing desk

 ’60 minutes’ investigates: is sitting down killing us? Sitting is the new smoking

 Making the switch to a standing desk

We’re also passionate about conveying the fact that it doesn’t take a gym session during your workday to inject some movement:

– Get up and out of the office for a brisk ten-minute walk before lunch
– Get up more often to talk to people (instead of sending an email!)
– Aim to drink more water so you get up to refill and use the bathroom more often
– Choose the stairs over the lift
– Get to work ten minutes early for a brisk walk to start your morning on an energised foot!

Outside of the office, it’s really a matter of being conscious and open to improvement. You could:

– Get up during every commercial break and walk up and down the stairs once
– Walk to the local shops instead of driving (especially if you’re only buying one or two items!)

– Suggest a walk at the local park before or after a coffee catch up (rather than just a coffee catch up!)
– Get into the habit of adding a brisk 10-minute walk on a Saturday morning to kick-start your day
– Spread out general chores: instead of waiting for a mess to build up and spending your whole Sunday cleaning the house, spend a shorter amount of time most days of the week cleaning up (even five minutes of tidying messy clothes will help!)
– Spend more time outside (whether it’s gardening or playing with the dog for 15 minutes, every little bit of movement helps. And you’ll get your daily vitamin D dosage!)

School holidays

School holidays are two words that illicit shrieks of excitement from children (freedom – finally!) but cause parents to groan in despair. How are you going to keep them entertained for two whole weeks?

What's is a sedentary lifestyle?
While it’s simply not realistic to presume that parents can take this sort of time off work to do daily activities, there are still a few ways you can keep minds and bodies active during the holidays.

If you can, take a few days off, even if it’s three or four days of their total two-week break. Plan activities for these days, even simple ones like going shopping, visiting a family member, or spending an hour or two at a playground.

If you’re more into structured plans, you could:

  • Enrol children in sports days
  • Sign them up for cooking classes
  • Lead an exploration of your capital city
  • Take them bowling
  • Plan a picnic in public gardens like Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens
  • Have a day out at the zoo
  • Visit a market (like food or arts and crafts, and a day or night market)
  • Visit a museum

Spend some time planning out school holidays to ensure bored kids don’t end up sitting at home on their laptops for the whole two weeks. If you can’t take more than a few days off, consult with other parents to see if you can spread holiday duties with them.

Of course, ask kids what they would like to do. Maybe it’s just as simple as taking the dog to the park or spending a day at the shopping centre.

Above all, don’t forget that you don’t need to exhaust your children. It’s OK to have a few quiet days at home. Young ones might like to colour while watching their favourite TV show, or snuggle under the doona and enjoy a movie night – and that’s no problem. Just make sure they’re not sitting like zombies for the entire day.

We don’t have room for a sedentary lifestyle! Set the right example for your children and keep their minds and bodies active and energised!

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author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

Google Reviews


Google Reviews

Andrew Pieterse 14/06/24

Great service and really quick shipping. It is great to know that you are getting quality parts from a Scandinavian manufacturer with your standing desk purchase rather than the cheap knock off stuff you get from other major brands. Reasonably priced for the quality too!

Janette Clarke 20/05/24

Guy was very accommodating with meeting him at a time that suited me. He assembled the desk prior to me collecting so I only had to carry it inside with help (it's pretty heavy). The desk is great, the storage racks underneath with the 6 x built in powerpoints was worth the extra money. I have a functioning & tidy workplace.
Guy was brilliant, I highly recommend.

Nickel 10/05/24

Have now purchased 2 stand up office desks off Guy, benchmark sales service from him, all via email, so easy; from quote to plug in, only matched by the strong quality of these machines, solid and stable. If only everything in life was this easy and reliable.

Jennifer Fadriquela 23/03/24

I purchased an EDesk this month from Ergomotion, and it was a remarkably smooth transaction. Guy was eager to answer all my questions before my purchase. As a first-time buyer of a standing desk, I truly appreciated how he addressed my queries with thorough details and provided options within my budget.

The delivery process was also smooth, despite a slight delay in the ETA. Guy ensured I received all necessary updates from the courier/removalist.

I've been using the desk for a couple of weeks now and I'm satisfied with it. It's sturdy on all height adjustments and the motor works as expected. I also like oak finish because it's clean-looking and suits my room setup.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and I'll definitely recommend Ergomotion to someone looking for their desk needs.

Josh Oliver 04/02/24

I've had an ergomotion desk for 10 years. It's still as good today as it was brand new. Over the years Guy has always responded promptly to any guidance I've needed (mostly help putting the desk back together after removalists take it apart).

Michael Cheung 18/01/24

Great service from Guy and the team at Ergomotion! Helped with all my queries and was able to source a standing desk part for me when many others weren't able! Highly recommend!

Shao Lei 30/11/23

Decent desk and awesome service. Highly recommend

Rod Hathway 10/11/23

Awesome experience. Great value, super customer experience, ordered, assembled and picked up in 24 hours!

Dom K 06/11/23

Skip the big name brands and buy from Guy instead, 10/10 linak parts with a very well built tabletop.

Chris Wu 06/11/23

I purchased the edesk from Guy at Ergomotion. Guy was a pleasure to deal with and the desk arrived the next day. Guy was highly knowledgeable on the desk and provided very prompt support on the installation. I can highly recommend Ergomotion.