When you sit or lie down for a long period of time, this is called sedentary behaviour.
Sedentary behaviour is different than not getting enough exercise. If you spend most of your day sitting, you are still at risk for health problems even if you are physically active for 30 – 60 minutes each day.
Common sedentary behaviours include:
- sitting for long periods of time at school or work;
- using a computer or phone;
- driving or commuting;
- watching television.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has developed guidelines for ways children and youth can reduce their sitting time.
For young children (ages 0-4 years):
- minimize the time infants (aged less than 1 year), toddlers (aged 1–2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3–4 years) are sedentary during waking hours;
- limit prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair) to one hour at a time.
- avoid screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) for children under 2 years;
- limit screen time to under one hour a day for children 2–4 years.
For children and teens (ages 5-17):
- limit recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours per day;
- limit sedentary (motorized) transport;
- limit extending sitting and time spent indoors.