Yes you read that right.
With a recent increase in clients due to the New Year and competition preparation, I’ve been forced to spend more time sitting in front of my computer. I’ve very quickly noticed it leads to a serious case of numb-bum, pins and needles, aches around my upper back and neck and a feeling of lethargy.
This led me to thinking about, and researching a little on the newly termed ‘Sitting Disease’.
So what exactly is it? It’s a term used to describe a range of poor health factors that arise for sitting for too many hours of the day. Long hours spent being sedentary each day increase your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and chronic back and joint problems. Not to mention it is very likely to result in flat butt syndrome. Which is fine if you want a flat butt. But it’s not the 80’s any more, and I don’t know a single person who wants one!
Sitting down puts your glutes in a relaxed position and reduces blood flow to the area. Over time, the glute muscles can ‘switch off’. This is when they fail to activate properly and propel you forwards in your everyday activity. Think about when you walk up a huge set of stairs. Where does it start to burn? If you said your thighs, then this is an example of how your thighs are taking over the work that your glutes should be doing. End result, loss of size and shape in those glorious glute muscles.
If you think about how much time we actually spend being active vs being inactive, it can be rather staggering to see the numbers of hours sitting. We sit in our cars, sit on the bus or train, sit down to eat, sit at work, sit at the computer, sit to watch tv, sit down to watch our favourite sports…
The average American spends just 3 hours a day on their feet. The rest of the time is made up with sitting and sleeping. I have yet to find a specific number for us Aussies, but my guess would be that it is frighteningly similar.
So what can you do about it? Well if you want a flat butt, a sore back and heart disease, just keep on sitting down all day. BUT if you would like to avoid all of the above, I suggest the following simple measures that will avoid many of the problems that arise from sitting too much:
- If possible, have a stand up desk at work. Use a padded mat for your feet if you find they get sore. Sit down to eat your lunch or when you need a break. That instantly flips things around!
- If that isn’t an option, sit on a Fit Ball and/or take regular standing or walking breaks throughout the day (at least once per hour).
- Stretch your pecs every single day. My favourite one is to lay on your back, knees bent to 90 degrees, feet flat on floor. Put your hands behind your head, flatten your back to the floor and gently push your elbows towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds x 3 times.
- Do daily glute activations when you wake up in the morning. Good old donkey kicks, fire hydrants, single and double leg glute bridges should do the trick. Squeeze that booty hard!
- Window washer back stretches and mini cobras every evening (carefully and safely please!)
- Finally, record the amount of time spend on your feet each day. This will be an eye opener! See if you can improve it each day until you are satisfied you are doing pretty well, and doing what you can, given your individual circumstances.
Stay healthy, train smart and remember your fitness should be ENDURING…. Lifelong, lasting, forever.