Best strategies for reducing prolonged sitting

September, 2015

A review of trials of interventions that sought to reduce sitting time has found the following strategies, among others, were 'promising':

  • having sit-stand desks at work
  • keeping records of your sitting time
  • setting individual goals for limiting sitting time
  • having prompts and cues to remind you to stop sitting
  • learning about the health benefits of reducing sitting time
  • getting feedback on your behavior
  • restructuring your physical and social environment to support the behavior changes
  • practising the new behavior
  • working out how to solve any problems that arise from shifting to less sitting time
  • having social support.

The researchers did note that the overall standard of the studies was poor, so we can't yet point to any clear strategy, but these provide a guide for action. They also noted that the more promising interventions involved a greater number of strategies — in other words, to be successful, you need to tackle this behavior change from a number of angles.

Gardner, B., Smith, L., Lorencatto, F., Hamer, M., & Biddle, S. J. (2016). How to reduce sitting time? A review of behaviour change strategies used in sedentary behaviour reduction interventions among adults. Health Psychology Review, 10(1), 89–112.

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