The Perils and Dangers of Sedentary Behaviour; and the Power of Exercise Intervention

Written by: Abhishek Behl (Accredited Exercise Scientist)

In today’s fast-paced world, sedentary behaviour has become a crisis for public health in Australia. Sedentary behaviour can be defined as ‘activities characterised by minimal physical movement, such as prolonged sitting or lying down for extended periods’.

This Exercise Physiology article aims to highlight the detrimental effects of sedentary lifestyles on your health.


We aim to highlight the importance of exercise as an intervention and explore the essential role that exercise plays in combating these dire health consequences experienced from sedentary behaviour throughout the Australian community.

The challenge we face with many people within the community is the more prolonged sitting that do; the harder the experience they face in getting momentum to embark on regular exercise.

The great news is however; the more physical activity you introduce into your lifestyle the more motivated you are to maintain the appropriate physical activity guidelines as set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Understanding Sedentary Lifestyles

Sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly prevalent in Australia due to various factors, including technological advancements, changes in work environments and the rise of sedentary leisure activities.

Many Australians spend a substantial portion of their day sitting, whether it’s at work, during their commute, or while relaxing at home. This prolonged sitting contributes to a range of health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, and even mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Postural Effects of Prolonged Phone Use

One of the most prevalent postural issues arising from excessive phone use is Forward Head Posture (FHP). As individuals spend countless hours peering down at their screens, their heads protrude forward from the neutral position, straining the muscles of the neck and upper back (Smith, 2020).

Additionally, the act of hunching over a phone contributes to rounded shoulders and a stooped posture which then further aggravates musculoskeletal strain. This constant downward gaze, commonly known as “text neck,” places unnecessary stress on the cervical spine, leading to discomfort and potential long-term spinal misalignment (Jones, 2018).

A key point to make here is that when people commute to and from work they are normally using public transport. The relevance of that is when you are next on a train, bus or a tram – have a look around and see how many people are on their phones with their heads down looking at their phone. This can then tie in with why people have developed poor postures (Liang & Hwang, 2015).

Health Risks Associated with Poor Posture from Phone Use

The long-term effects of poor posture extend beyond mere physical discomfort. Musculoskeletal issues such as neck pain, shoulder tension, and upper back discomfort are common causes of prolonged phone use (Brown, 2019).

Moreover, spinal misalignment resulting from ‘text neck posture’ can have serious consequences, including decreased lung capacity due to restricted breathing (White, 2021), reduced range of motion (Smith, Johnson, & Williams, 2020)and increased susceptibility to headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction (Williams, 2017).

The effects of sedentary behaviour and psychological implications further worsen these health risks, creating a multifaceted challenge to overall well-being.

The Health Risks of Sedentary Behaviour

The dangers of sedentary behaviour extend beyond just physical health concerns. Research has shown that prolonged sitting is associated with an increased risk of premature death, independent of other lifestyle factors.

Sitting for long periods leads to reduced calorie expenditure, which can contribute to weight gain and then lead to potentially obesity.

Additionally, sedentary behaviour is linked to poor posture, muscle stiffness and an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Sedentary behaviour has been shown to negatively impact mental health, with studies indicating a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety among individuals who sit for long periods.

Exercise as a Solution and Intervention

Regular physical activity is crucial for counteracting the negative effects of sedentary behaviour and promoting overall health and well-being.

Exercise helps to increase energy expenditure, improve cardiovascular health, enhance muscular strength and flexibility. Participating in aerobic activities like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, as well as strength training, can assist individuals in maintaining a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve mood and cognitive function. Incorporating breaks from sitting and utilising more movement throughout the day, such as standing desks or making an effort to walk more can help reduce the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.

At Inspire Fitness our health practitioners play a vital role in promoting physical activity and helping individuals transition to a more active lifestyle.

We are highly trained professionals who specialise in prescribing exercise programs to improve health and fitness. Exercise physiologists and exercise scientists conduct comprehensive assessments to evaluate an individual’s fitness level, health status, and specific needs.

Based on this assessment, they design personalised exercise programs tailored to the individual’s goals, preferences, and any existing medical conditions. These programs often include a combination of aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance exercises. As well as lifestyle recommendations to reduce sedentary behaviour.

By working with our health professionals YOU as a potential future client can receive expert guidance, ongoing support and motivation to adopt healthier habits, overcome barriers and achieve YOUR fitness goals.

Through collaborative efforts to promote active living, we can effectively counteract the detrimental effects of sedentary behaviour and pave the way for a healthier future for all Australians. For personalised guidance tailored to your needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 9857 3007.

Our team of highly qualified health practitioners are ready to assist you in achieving your desired health outcomes.
Call us today on 9857 3007 at Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing to book an appointment and embark on your journey towards better health and overall well-being. soon as possible.

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