Sit less, move more

Breaking up regular sitting time is important – even small breaks from prolonged sitting are good for health.

  • Break up sitting time for at least a few minutes every hour (preferably more).
  • Limiting the time spent in front of a screen gives more time for physical activity.

At work/study

Height-adjustable tables allow for changing between sitting and standing.
  • Break up long periods of sitting by standing regularly to stretch or take phone calls.
  • Stand during meetings or when reading.
  • Walk to colleagues instead of phone, texting or emailing them.
  • Take regular standing breaks while driving.


  • Replace regular car journeys with public transport or active transport where possible.
  • Try walking, cycling or scooting short trips.
  • Reduce sitting time during travel by standing on buses, trains and ferries.
  • Get off the bus/train one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take regular breaks when travelling in a car or on a motorbike.


  • Limit TV, computer use or other seated activities when at home.
  • During leisure time, turn off the TV/computer/tablet and go for a walk.
  • Stand up and stretch when the ad breaks come on TV.
  • Stand up while fishing, preparing kai, checking emails or making phone calls.

Seated activities

Seated activities that use a lot of energy, like waka ama/oe vaka, wheelchair sports, rowing and cycling, are all excellent ways to get moving and can reduce your risk of poor health. Seated activities can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and being overweight or obese.

Lower limb movements can also offset the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.

People with physical disabilities

If you have a health condition that means you can’t stand (like if you use a wheelchair or have limited mobility), focus on doing regular chair-based activities like:

  • ‘Sit and Be Fit’ or ‘Chairobics’
  • arm cranking
  • wheelchair circuits
  • wheeling with friends
  • wheelchair sports.

These activities increase the heart rate and breathing as well as strengthening muscles.

Find out more from the Ministry

The Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults have more information on the benefits of sitting less.

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