Incidental physical activity and sedentary behaviour

Incorporating movement into everyday life for better health

Bodily movement is a core aspect of human health and development. We’re working to understand the cultural, economic and individual circumstances leading to habit-formation so we can help people adopt healthy habits.

Despite evidence showing the potential for physical activity to improve our quality of life and prevent and treat major chronic disease, the adoption of exercise in Australia is low.

For many, engaging in incidental physical activity that’s part of everyday life is more achievable as it overcomes barriers to structured exercise, which may include time, cost and physical conditioning.

We believe traditional discipline-focused methods have limited potential when it comes to solving complex real-life problems, such as physical inactivity and obesity. 

We want to help people adopt more active lifestyles for better health by showing them how to incorporate incidental physical activity into their life.

We work across disciplines to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase incidental physical activity. Lifestyle physical activity goes beyond traditional individualised exercise prescription or physical education models and extends into transportation, workplace, clinical, and domestic settings.

Our research has far-reaching impact for all Australians. It offers them the opportunity to change the way they move through life.

Key grants

  • 2020-2022: Stamatakis E,  et al. Development of a framework for maximising population health gains through high intensity incidental physical activity (HIIPA).  National Health and Medical Research Council  Ideas Grant (APP1180812): $886,550

Key publications

  • O’Donovan G, Stamatakis E. et al. Association of “Weekend Warrior” and other leisure time physical activity patterns with risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine 2017;177(3):335-342. [more]
  • Stamatakis E, Gale J, Bauman A, Hamer M, Ding D. Sitting Time, Physical Activity, and Risk of Mortality in Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol 2019;73(16):2073-2075; SJR [more]

Public health guidelines

Several publications have been used in national physical activity guidelines, for example this Jama Internal Medicine journal was cited in

  • 2018 US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report
  • UK 2019 Physical Activity guidelines 


Project Node Leader

Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis
Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis
Visit Emmanuel Stamatakis's profile