Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Non-exercise Behavior

  • Sally A. M. FentonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_101909-1



Movement behaviors accumulated throughout the day that are not undertaken as part of structured, purposeful MVPA and exercise. These behaviors comprise sedentary behavior (e.g., sitting) and light physical activity (e.g., lifestyle-embedded activities of daily living).


Movement should be conceptualized as a continuum, ranging from almost no movement at all (e.g., sedentary behavior, ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents) through to light physical activity (e.g., incidental movement, lifestyle-embedded activities, 1.6–2.9 metabolic equivalents) to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, MVPA (e.g., running, playing sports, structured exercise, ≥3 metabolic equivalents) (Tremblay et al. 2010).

Evidence consistently demonstrates that MVPA has a key preventative role in risk and incidence of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers (Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee 2018...

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References and Further Readings

  1. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, P. A. G. A. (2018). Physical activity guidelines advisory committee scientific report. Retrieved from Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  2. Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123–132.  https://doi.org/10.7326/M14-1651.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bonsignore, A., Pakosh, M. T., & Alter, D. A. (2018). The energy expenditure benefits of reallocating sedentary time with physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Public Health, 40(2), 295–303.  https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdx062.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chastin, S. F. M., De Craemer, M., De Cocker, K., Powell, L., Van Cauwenberg, J., Dall, P., et al. (2019). How does light-intensity physical activity associate with adult cardiometabolic health and mortality? Systematic review with meta-analysis of experimental and observational studies. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(6), 370–376.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-097563.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Ekelund, U., Steene-Johannessen, J., Brown, W. J., Fagerland, M. W., Owen, N., Powell, K. E., et al. (2016). Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. Lancet, 388(10051), 1302–1310.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Grgic, J., Dumuid, D., Bengoechea, E. G., Shrestha, N., Bauman, A., Olds, T., & Pedisic, Z. (2018). Health outcomes associated with reallocations of time between sleep, sedentary behaviour, and physical activity: A systematic scoping review of isotemporal substitution studies. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 15(1), 69.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-018-0691-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hamilton, M. T., Healy, G. N., Dunstan, D. W., Zderic, T. W., & Owen, N. (2008). Too little exercise and too much sitting: Inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior. Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports, 2(4), 292–298.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12170-008-0054-8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Healy, G. N., Wijndaele, K., Dunstan, D. W., Shaw, J. E., Salmon, J., Zimmet, P. Z., & Owen, N. (2008). Objectively measured sedentary time, physical activity, and metabolic risk: The Australian diabetes, obesity and lifestyle study (AusDiab). Diabetes Care, 31(2), 369–371.  https://doi.org/10.2337/dc07-1795.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Manns, P. J., Dunstan, D. W., Owen, N., & Healy, G. N. (2012). Addressing the nonexercise part of the activity continuum: A more realistic and achievable approach to activity programming for adults with mobility disability? Physical Therapy, 92(4), 614–625.  https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20110284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Owen, N., Bauman, A., & Brown, W. (2009). Too much sitting: A novel and important predictor of chronic disease risk? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(2), 81–83.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2008.055269.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Patterson, R., McNamara, E., Tainio, M., de Sa, T. H., Smith, A. D., Sharp, S. J., et al. (2018). Sedentary behaviour and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and incident type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and dose response meta-analysis. European Journal of Epidemiology.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-018-0380-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rees-Punia, E., Evans, E. M., Schmidt, M. D., Gay, J. L., Matthews, C. E., Gapstur, S. M., & Patel, A. V. (2019). Mortality risk reductions for replacing sedentary time with physical activities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 56(5), 736–741.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2018.12.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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  15. Xu, C., Furuya-Kanamori, L., Liu, Y., Faerch, K., Aadahl, M., Seguin, R. A., et al. (2019). Sedentary behavior, physical activity, and all-cause mortality: Dose-response and intensity weighted time-use meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2019.05.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK