Sitting Hurts: Fitbit Data Suggests You Should Move More Often

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Driving in the car, working at your desk, watching TV at night—it’s not hard to find a good seat these days. But all that sitting could have a negative impact on your health. In fact, recent research shows that even if you’re fairly active and getting in your daily steps, sitting for prolonged periods of time is associated with a significantly higher risk of heart disease.

Wondering about the impact sitting has on your day? Fitbit® data scientists pulled together aggregated and anonymous data from over one million Fitbit users, and found that on average some users can be sedentary for prolonged periods of up to 90 minutes* at a time throughout the day. For the typical 9-to-5 office worker, that’s some solid desk surfing.

Fitbit users in the U.S. are the most sedentary between the hours of 2:00pm and 3:00pm, followed closely by a morning work period around 10:30am or 11:00am. (There’s another smaller peak period of sitting in the evening between 7:30pm and 8:30pm—a little must-see TV, perhaps?)

Further delving into the data, Fitbit researchers noticed total sedentary time appears to increase with age. Fitbit users in their early twenties show a significant increase in sedentary time—it jumps up by about an hour between the ages of 20 and 24. (Welcome to the workforce, millennials!) Sedentary time increases again by about thirty more minutes from ages 24 to 30, and again by another thirty minutes from ages 30 to 55. The good news? Sedentary time begins to decrease after age 55, with a clear dip between the ages of 58 and 66—perhaps around the age when many people decide to retire.

Getting up to move for two minutes every hour throughout the day can help you chip away at those prolonged sedentary periods. And there are ways to sneak in more steps, even if you feel like you’re chained to your desk. Use a smaller water bottle, so you have an excuse to head to the break room and refill it more often. Take a short walk to your co-worker’s cube instead of typing an email when you need a quick answer. And consider slipping in a set of stairs on your way to (and from!) the bathroom. 

 Need a physical nudge to get out of your chair? Fitbit Alta comes equipped with Reminders to Move. With a little buzz at your wrist every hour, the tracker motivates you to hit your hourly 250-step goal, which is roughly two to three minutes of walking. And, starting today, you’ll be able to track your Hourly Activity and Sedentary Time in the Fitbit dashboard if you currently use Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Surge, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Alta, or Fitbit Flex.

*Based on aggregated and anonymous data from over one million Fitbit users in 2015.


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