Different types of sedentary activities and their association with perceived health and wellness among middle-aged and older adults


Background: Sedentary behaviour has been identified as a risk factor for a variety of health conditions; however, middle-aged and older aged adults continue to spend a large portion of waking hours being sedentary. Many sedentary activities provide an opportunity for social engagement and/or provide cognitive stimuli making them important for psychosocial wellbeing. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between various sedentary activities and self-reported psychosocial health and wellness outcomes to further elucidate potentially important aspects of certain sedentary activities. Methods: Data from adults over the age of 45 years (n=8,161) and adults over the age of 60 years (n=9,128) from the Canadian Community Health Survey (Healthy Aging Cycle, 2008-2009) were used for analysis. Self-perceived health, sense of belonging to community, mood disorder, and satisfaction with life were used as outcomes. The sedentary activities were playing bingo, computer use, doing crosswords/puzzles, handicrafts, listening to radio/music, playing a musical instrument, reading, visiting others, and watching TV. Results: Sedentary activities with a large social or cognitive component were more likely to be associated with better health in the outcomes observed. Sex differences were observed in computer use, where females of both age groups showed an association between computer use and satisfaction with life (Older: OR: 1.53; CI: 1.07-2.20; Younger: OR: 1.41; CI: 1.08-1.86). Reading was also associated with a greater satisfaction with life in females (Older: OR: 1.63; CI: 1.12-2.37; Younger: OR: 1.42, CI: 1.06-1.90) but not males across both age groups. Conclusion: Several sedentary activities were found to be positively associated with self-reported psychosocial wellness in middle and older aged adults. These findings identify potential opportunities for sedentary time interventions and physical activity promotion in middle-aged and older adults.