What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?



A sedentary lifestyle involves minimal physical activity, excessive sitting time, and low caloric expenditure often associated with increased risk of chronic diseases.


  • Sedentary behavior means expending little energy – less than 500 calories per day – through physical activity. A desk job contributes.
  • Excess sitting time and inactivity adversely impacts cardiovascular health, blood sugar management, posture, weight, and energy levels.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day plus limiting prolonged sitting with standing desks or movement breaks.
  • Incorporating regular strength training, sprints, walking, and standing versus sitting reduces sedentary risks even with a desk job.


  • 10+ hours of sitting daily between working at a computer, watching TV, driving, etc.
  • Relying mostly on machines with minimal human movement required.

Related Terms

  • Hypokinetic diseases, metabolic diseases, sitting disease, ergonomics

Common Questions

  • How much exercise offsets a desk job? At least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity. But more movement is better.
  • What counts as a sedentary job? Any predominantly seated occupation with minimal physical activity demands.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Inactive – Can just mean not getting regular structured exercise only.
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