The Department of Health describes inactivity as a silent killer, now a bigger risk factor for heart disease than smoking, so find out how moving more helps with diabetes.

Our lifestyle has changed over the years and now many of us sit while at work and home. This inactivity, also known as sedentary behaviour, means we’re not moving enough.

Inactivity is now the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide.

The impact of sitting down too long

Scientists first noticed something was up in a study that compared the health of transit drivers who sat most of the day and conductors who mostly stood. Though the diets and lifestyles of both groups were a lot alike, the drivers were about twice as likely to get heart disease than the conductors.

Sitting down too long is likely to increase your risk of developing many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes – and lead to weight gain and obesity.  

Top ‘sit less’ tips

Take regular breaks from screens at home or at work

If you’re home watching television, get up at every ad break, or get on your exercise bike or hit the floor. You can keep moving even during your favourite programme.

Stand instead of sitting when you travel

Try standing for at least short periods on your journey or get off the bus a few stops early and walk.

Stand up at work

Go over to talk to colleagues rather than sending them an email, or go to a different floor to make coffee or use a toilet.

Ask for a standing desk or have a standing or walking meeting.

Plan in some active time when you are often sitting

Find a local activity or go for a walk after breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’re at home, cook a healthy meal from scratch or watch your favourite TV programme while moving around.

Set time limits on sitting down

Limit television to an hour in the evening or have a one-hour technology break each evening and do something more active. If you have a family, it’s great for everyone to follow this rule.