Total Health

Top Tips To Sit Less And Move More!

February 19th, 2021 by
Category: Dr. Luke Vella Health & Wellbeing Movement Posture

Two men sitting at desks, working from their computers

Just how sedentary is your lifestyle?

Throughout recent years of research, the average Australian has been found to be sitting for 10 hours a day. Now, this may not seem like a HUGE amount of time for some people, but let me run some quick numbers by you.

There are 24 hours in a day.

On average, eight of those hours are spent sleeping.

Now, if we add the 10 hour average sitting time to the average sleep time, we come to a total of 16 hours of sedentary behaviour per day.

This leaves us with just 6 hours a day on average to be active and move about in our homes, offices, school and outdoor areas such as parks, beaches and gardens. But what do we actually do in these six hours? Are we on our phones? Are we watching Netflix? Are we taking an afternoon nap?

No matter what it is that we are doing, our bodies are quietly squirming at the thought of more sedentary time – our bodies are designed to move and be active!

Not only are there short-term negative effects of too much sitting such as:

  • Poor posture
  • Poor digestion
  • Feelings of tiredness 
  • Reduced mental focus

But are some very serious long-term negative effects such as:

  • Reduced muscle tone 
  • Weight gain which can lead to:
    Heart disease
    Type 2 diabetes
    Some cancers
  • Depression / anxiety

To combat these negative short and long-term effects, we want to aim towards moving every 30 minutes during time of sedentary behaviour. And no, going to the gym for 30 minutes, five times a week does not make up for all the sitting we are doing throughout the day!

How can I start to move more?

Micro Breaks

Whether you are working a 9-5 desk job, you are cramming in last minute study before your big final exam or you’re a cabinet maker stuck on the saw all day, micro breaks are a great way to keep your leg muscles engaged, reduce sedentary time at work and increase mental focus. 

These micro breaks should be taken at 30 minute intervals throughout the day and only need to last 60 seconds. These micro breaks can look like: 

  • Walking to the break room/kitchen to fill up your water bottle or grab a healthy snack
  • Going and talking to a co-worker instead of sending an insincere email
  • Simply taking time to stand up and breathe – to not only clear your mind, but engage your lower body muscles 

Make travel time active time!

woman standing on bus commuting

The best way to sit less and move more is to cut your mechanical transport time and use your legs to get from point A to point B. By cutting down on travel via cars, trains/buses and elevators, we are able to help maintain and increase our leg, glute and core muscle tone and strength, increase digestion, maintain our current weight and potentially assist with weight loss if necessary. In turn, this helps to reduce the risk of more serious illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. 

There are very simple ways to cut down mechanical transport times, such as: 

  • Parking in a parking bay further away
  • Getting off the train/bus at an earlier stop and walking the rest of the way
  • Choosing to take the stairs instead of taking elevators or escalators

Changing your posture

This is a really important one for all you students and desk workers out there. By improving your posture and doing quick and easy exercises at your desk, we can not only start to see a reduction in back/postural pain and fatigue, but an improvement in posture overall and an increase in postural muscle tone and flexibility. 

There are a couple of easy ways we can start to improve our posture while at our desk: 

  • Setting a reminder on our phone/computer for every 30 minutes that reminds us to sit upright and move
  • Engaging in some upper back and neck stretches while at your desk 

Netflix and move

close up of television screen displaying netflix icon

With so much new and exciting content at our fingertips on TV, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and now Disney+, it’s no wonder Australian’s are averaging 10 hours of sedentary behaviour a day. An important thing we need to keep in mind while consuming all this content is that we still need to MOVE. By including movement throughout the shows and moves we watch, we are able to take stress off the joints that we are loading while sitting, while also increasing our daily physical activity. Not only this,  by including movement during times of watching TV and movies, we actively helping prevent more serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart diseases. 

The best way to move more while engaging in these screen-based activities is to go for a walk around the house, do some chores or have some challenges you and the family/partner/housemates can try and reach during ad breaks or between episodes of a show.  Challenges can include:

  • First to 10 push ups/sit ups
  • Last person standing after balancing on one leg
  • And more activities of this nature.

Another good way to move more and sit less is to simply stand while watching TV, but stand with purpose. Do some ironing, challenge your balance or do some stretching.

Reducing screen time

woman sitting and looking down at iphone

A really good way to sit less and move more is to turn off your screens and enjoy life beyond the social realm. This not only gives your eyes a rest, but will help to improve posture, increase mental focus and decrease stress. 

Some ways to encourage turning off screens in your household include: 

  • Plan ahead family walks or family games nights
  • Starting up a new hobby
  • Trying to reach new physical goals

The above activities are good to not only keep away from your screens, but to encourage more movement and less sedentary time.

Now it’s your turn

At the end of the day, moving more and sitting less is going to not only aid towards improvements in your posture, physical and mental health but also aid in the prevention of nasty conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So, what will be your tip of choice? Will you take micro breaks? Will you decrease motor travel time and walk part way to your destinations? How about changing your posture? Reducing screen time? Or will it be moving around during ad breaks and in-between episodes of your favourite TV series? Even if you only get some movement in, it is a start – any movement is good movement! 

If you have any questions about moving more/sitting less and how to achieve this, please feel free to contact us at Total Health Chiropractic or another health care professional for tailored advice.  


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