Sitting is the default state in many people’s day-to-day lives, with significant health implications – but a smartwatch simply ordering people to stand will not make much difference to their behaviour or health, say researchers from the University of Surrey.
The study was published in the journal Health Psychology Review.
The comments come as the Surrey research team published a study into ways people can reduce long periods of sitting and not moving.
The study recommends moving away from time-restricted solutions to tackle sitting and focusing more on increasing the frequency of situations where people transition from sitting down to standing up.
Dr Benjamin Gardner, the co-author of the study from the University of Surrey, said: “A smart device simply telling someone to stand up is not going to help to build strong and lasting habits that encourage people to sit less. The real trick is finding reasons to transition from sitting and standing and vice-versa more often. In the office environment, it could mean going for refreshments with a colleague or instituting standing-up meetings.
“Our study argues that we must construct strategies that make the reasons why people transition from sit-stand more meaningful and find ways to do those behaviours as often as practically possible.”
People in Western countries sit for an average of between eight to 11 hours. High levels of sedentary (sitting) behaviour are associated with severe physical and mental health problems, such as declined cognitive function, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.