The pandemic had certainty hit the world and changed everyone’s habits and routines. To slow down the spread, and prevent worsening of the impacts, the governments of many countries implemented tight restrictions on movement and socialisation. Although these measurements are highly effective and important in allaying the spread of COVID-19, the limitations, which included restrictions to outside activities and social distancing, have resulted in the adoption of unhealthy behaviours in large segments of the population, including increases in sedentary time and decreases in physical activity. During the highest level of lockdown, travel limitations were also imposed. For example, this rule was implemented in the Greater Sydney where movements were restricted to within 5 kilometres from home when COVID-19 cases were at its peak. This restriction likely reduced time spent in the incidental movements, like going to the shops, that are part of normal life. Exacerbating this, studies showed that people also tend to spend more time at home on activities that minimised movements, such as using electronics which further increase excessive screen time. For example, the average sitting time in the US increased by 3 times to 6 hours per day since the declaration of the pandemic. Furthermore, as BeUpstanding’s previous blog article had mentioned, office workers in the UK increased their sitting time by 26% after the implementation of lockdown restrictions. Besides increasing sedentary behaviour, the pandemic also caused a significant drop in the level of physical activity among individuals by 32%, with many people finding it hard to stay active at home.
It is already a widely known fact that having a sedentary lifestyle and being physically inactive increases the risk for poor health and wellbeing outcomes including: musculoskeletal disorders, depression and anxiety, and non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases & type 2 diabetes. Things you could try to reduce sedentary behaviour at home, including during lockdown times:
- Create healthy and active home office
- Taking small breaks during work
- Using a health app to promote active living and reduce sedentary time
- Take part in virtual workouts
We look forward to hearing of other ways you have been sitting less and moving more at home!
This blog article was written by Bachelor of Health Science student Rou Jing Tham as part of her placement with the BeUpstanding team.