Stand Up to Disability

Did you know standing for just one extra hour a day greatly reduces the risk of disability, especially for retirees?1 Sedentary behavior, or sitting, is a very strong risk factor for disability and limitations in activities of daily living (ADL). ADL limitations are those that affect a person’s ability to complete self-care tasks without assistance or special equipment, such as getting dressed or bathing.

The US national data shows a strong relationship between greater time spent in sedentary behavior and the presence of ADL disability, independent of time spent in moderate or vigorous activity. These findings support programs encouraging older adults to decrease sedentary behavior.

The research team analyzed data from over 2,000 adults age 60+. The participants were asked to wear accelerometers and to keep a log as means of recording data regarding their time spent sitting versus time involved in standing activities. The records show that the participants averaged almost nine hours of sitting time, during non-sleeping hours, each day. The study also explains that for every additional hour a person spent sedentary each day, the likelihood of an ADL disability increased by 46 percent. This is true even for those who perform moderate exercise.

To reduce sedentary behavior, try standing when you talk on the phone or completing chores such as ironing or folding clothes while watching TV. It’s not too late to stand up against disability!


  1. Dunlop DD, Song J, Arntson EK, Semanik PA, Lee J, Chang RW, Hootman JM. Sedentary time in US older adults associated with disability in activities of daily living independent of physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2015 Jan 1;12(1):93-101.
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