Origin of the word
Sedentary has a Latin root through the verb ‘sedere’ which means ‘to sit’. It has been recorded in use from the 16th century, developing from the Middle French word ‘sédentaire’ which expresses the notion of staying in one place.
Sedentary is an adjective that refers to a state of inaction characterized by sitting down. An individual with a sedentary lifestyle is one who is accustomed to spending a lot of time sitting down and does not expend much physical energy. Being sedentary has been associated with negative health consequences, with the failure to participate in physical activity determined to be one of the leading causes of preventable death.
A recent report from Public Health England has found that a high percentage of adults are not engaging in even minimal levels of exercise. Research from the government agency indicated that 40% of middle-aged people in England do not even walk continuously for ten minutes once a month as a form of exercise. This type of sedentary behaviour could have severe medical implications, increasing an individual’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and dementia prematurely.
Involving a lot of sitting and not much exercise.
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.