Revenir au début
Are you really active?

Are you really active?

background shape


January 16, 2024

 |  Isabelle Sinclair

The World Health Organization defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires the expenditure of energy.

The majority of the population is also aware of the recommendations on the subject, i.e. a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. [1] But are we automatically considered active if we respect these recommendations?

In recent years, a distinction has been made between physical inactivity and sedentariness. In fact, sedentariness is a different concept, independent of physical activity. Whereas physical inactivity is defined as failure to comply with recommended physical activity levels, sedentariness is defined as any time spent awake, characterized by an energy expenditure of less than 1.5 METs (metabolic equivalent) in a sitting or lying position. [2] So, by analyzing the two concepts, we understand that being physically active does not mean not being sedentary. For example, a person who works out for 30 minutes a day but sits at a desk the rest of the day, is considered sedentary. So, it goes without saying that a routine as mentioned is fine, but not optimal. In a meta-analysis of the link between daily sitting time and mortality, researchers reported a 34% increase in mortality risk among people who sit for 10 hours or more a day. [3] Without knowing it, many of us fall into this group.

Achieving a truly active lifestyle can therefore seem difficult, especially for certain population groups such as the elderly. A study of 1,219 adults aged 70 to 77 showed that physical activity levels increased with warmer outdoor temperatures. [4] Even so, it’s all the more important for them to reduce their sedentary levels to reap the benefits. An active lifestyle has frequently been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia and falls, better management of diabetes and hypertension, and much more [5][6][7][8] There are many tools available to help people develop and maintain an active lifestyle. Sometimes, a simple calendar can make all the difference. Writing it down and having a visual cue can make it easier to integrate a daily routine. Get up during commercial breaks and do a few exercises, and always have materials at hand and within easy reach. Have a stopwatch to remind you to move, or a partner. All these little tricks can help reduce sedentary lifestyles.



[1] Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS). [En ligne] Activité physique.
[2] Consensus Definitions (French Translation) [En ligne]. The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN). Disponible :
[3] Chau, Josephine Y et al. “Daily sitting time and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 8,11 e80000. 13 Nov. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080000
[4] Aspvik, Nils Petter et al. “Do weather changes influence physical activity level among older adults? – The Generation 100 study.” PloS one vol. 13,7 e0199463. 6 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199463
[5] Cornelissen, Veronique A, and Neil A Smart. “Exercise training for blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of the American Heart Association vol. 2,1 e004473. 1 Feb. 2013, doi:10.1161/JAHA.112.004473
[6] Beckett, Michael W et al. “A meta-analysis of prospective studies on the role of physical activity and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.” BMC geriatrics vol. 15 9. 11 Feb. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12877-015-0007-2
[7] Zhao, Renqing et al. “Exercise interventions and prevention of fall-related fractures in older people: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” International journal of epidemiology vol. 46,1 (2017): 149-161. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw142
[8] Zahalka, Salwa J., et al. “The Role of Exercise in Diabetes.” Endotext, edited by Kenneth R Feingold et. al.,, Inc., 6 January 2023.

©2024 Centre Multisports in Vaudreuil-Dorion / 
Design & code: Les Manifestes