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Improving health in older adults by reducing sitting time

The Frail-LESS study (LEss Sitting and Sarcopenia to lower frailty in older adults)

We all lose muscle and strength as we get older (this is called sarcopenia) and this can affect how well we can do everyday activities. Reducing the amount of time spent sitting could help improve older people’s strength and balance, their ability to carry out everyday activities (e.g. standing up from a chair, walking and climbing stairs), and help them to maintain their independence for longer.

The aim of this research is to test a new programme to reduce sitting behaviour in older adults to improve their health and their ability to do everyday activities like standing up from a chair, walking and climbing stairs.

Call for participants

We are looking for people who may need help with some daily tasks like ‘heavy’ housework (e.g. hoovering, ironing, cleaning the floor) and getting about on public transport or getting in and out of your car.

If you would like to take part please register your interest here, by emailing Jamie.Harper@brunel.ac.uk or phoning 01895 265035. For more information about the study and how to sign up: please click here

What the research involves

You will be randomly put into either the control group or the intervention group and will be in the study for 6 months. If you are in the intervention group, you will receive the Frail-LESS programme, which will include the following:

  • An education programme that will tell you about the health risks of sitting too much and ways that you can try to reduce your sitting time.
  • A device that you wear on your wrist that tracks your sitting and sends you alerts to encourage you to get up and move around.
  • Sessions with a health coach who will help you in reducing your sitting.
  • You will be able to join a Frail-LESS study support group, which will have other members in it from the study who will support each other in reducing their sitting.

If you are in the control group you will receive the Frail-LESS programme, but this will be delayed by approximately 24 weeks. We will take measures of strength, balance, muscle, sitting time, and your ability to do everyday activities at the start of the study and 3 and 6 months later. We will assess how many people we recruit for the study, how many complete the study and gather participants’ thoughts about the programme and measurements we take.

If you are unable to attend the University or prefer not to because of COVID-19, we will visit your home to complete the measurements.

You will receive £30 of shopping gift vouchers if you take part in all of the measurements and you will be reimbursed travel expenses for any visits you make to the university for the measurements.


  • Bailey, DP., Mugridge, LH., Dong, F., Zhang, X. and Chater, AM. (2020) 'Randomised Controlled Feasibility Study of the MyHealthAvatar-Diabetes Smartphone App for Reducing Prolonged Sitting Time in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus'. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (12). pp. 1 - 15. ISSN: 1661-7827

  • Maylor, BD., Zakrzewski-Fruer, JK., Stensel, DJ., Orton, CJ. and Bailey, DP. (2019) 'Effects of Frequency and Duration of Interrupting Sitting on Cardiometabolic Risk Markers'. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 40 (13). pp. 818 - 824. ISSN: 0172-4622

  • Brierley, ML., Chater, AM., Smith, LR. and Bailey, DP. (2019) 'The Effectiveness of Sedentary Behaviour Reduction Workplace Interventions on Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review'. Sports Medicine, 49 (11). pp. 1739 - 1767. ISSN: 0112-1642

  • Bailey, DP., Hewson, DJ., Champion, RB. and Sayegh, SM. (2019) 'Sitting Time and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57 (3). pp. 408 - 416. ISSN: 0749-3797

  • Maylor, BD., Zakrzewski-Fruer, JK., Orton, CJ. and Bailey, DP. (2018) 'Beneficial postprandial lipaemic effects of interrupting sedentary time with high-intensity physical activity versus a continuous moderate-intensity physical activity bout: A randomised crossover trial'. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21 (12). pp. 1250 - 1255. ISSN: 1440-2440

  • Maylor, BD., Edwardson, CL., Zakrzewski-Fruer, JK., Champion, RB. and Bailey, DP. (2018) 'Efficacy of a Multicomponent Intervention to Reduce Workplace Sitting Time in Office Workers'. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60 (9). pp. 787 - 795. ISSN: 1076-2752

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Daniel Bailey - Dr Daniel Bailey is a Senior Lecturer in Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences in the Division of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, and leads the Sedentary Behaviour, Health and Disease Research Group. Dr Bailey's research investigates the relationship between sedentary behaviour and chronic health conditions, with a particular focus on cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. This research includes the epidemiology of sedentary behaviour and association with chronic health risks, rigorously controlled laboratory studies examining the benefits of breaking up prolonged sitting time on markers of health, and the development and evaluation of interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in a range of population groups at risk of adverse health such as office workers, older adults and people with Type 2 diabetes. Dr Bailey has been awarded multiple research grants from funding bodies and industry partners to support his research and has published a large number of research articles in the field of sedentary behaviour, physical activity and health. He has delivered multiple conference presentations and invited talks across the UK and Europe and is a Technical Advisor for the Qatar National Physical Activity Guidelines 2nd edition, which is being released in 2020. Dr Bailey is Associate Editor for Frontiers in Public Health, which has an impact factor of 2.483, he is membership rep for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Physical Activity for Health Division, and a member of the scientific committee leadership group for the 8th International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) Congress. Dr Bailey has a wealth of experience teaching physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health topics at undergraduate and postgraduate level and in his previous role as Senior Lecturer in Health, Nutrition and Exercise at the University of Bedfordshire he was leader for the BSc (Hons) Health, Nutrition and Exercise programme.

Related Research Group(s)

Health Behaviour Change

Health Behaviour Change - Development and evaluation of theory- and evidence-based health behaviour change interventions, across communicable and non-communicable diseases; evidence synthesis of behaviour change interventions.

Sedentary Behaviour, Health and Disease

Sedentary Behaviour, Health and Disease - Investigating the relationship of sedentary behaviour with health and wellbeing; evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to reduce and break up sedentary behaviour.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 11/10/2021