Sedentary and active: self-reported sitting time among marathon and half-marathon participants

J Phys Act Health. 2014 Jan;11(1):165-72. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2011-0420. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


Background: Emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity (PA) and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than PA alone. A highly active yet highly sedentary population is needed to study this interaction. The present purpose is to describe the sitting habits of a group of recreational runners and determine if sitting varies with reported training duration or anticipated running velocity.

Methods: Marathon and half-marathon participants completed the Multicontext Sitting Time Questionnaire and reported peak training duration, anticipated finishing time, and demographic information. Sitting time was described across 5 contexts for workdays and nonworkdays. Total sitting time was analyzed by tertiles of training duration and anticipated event running velocity.

Results: 218 participants took part in this study. Median reported training time was 6.5 hours per week. Median total sitting time was higher on workdays than nonworkdays (645 and 480 minutes, respectively, P < .0001). Total sitting time was not associated with training duration or anticipated event running velocity.

Conclusions: These results suggest that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active, supporting independence of sedentary behaviors and moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA. This population may provide the characteristics needed to study the joint effects of active and sedentary behaviors on health outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Running / psychology*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas
  • Time Factors
  • Work / statistics & numerical data