Chances are, you’re sitting way more than you ought to. Especially if you have an office job. Because our generation has an infatuation with naming every phenomenon, you can now refer to the excessive sitting that causes a flatter butt, “office ass.”
This term describes the flattening of the butt that occurs while you’re sitting at your desk all day. Then your car. Then your couch. But, the perils of sitting go far beyond a less-than-desirable derriere. Even if you work out regularly, your day job is likely killing you.
Chronic sitting is drastically affecting your health and this is only recently coming to light. Sitting for nine hours or more a day should be considered a lethal activity, as it slows the body’s metabolism and leads to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and increased mortality risk.
Natural posture and alignment has been stripped from us as we’ve been sitting excessively since beginning school. Sitting is definitely a natural movement for humans, but not for eight-plus hours per day, everyday. It is the excessive sitting of our modern age that causes problems.
Going beyond the diseases sitting contributes to, it also causes acute, chronic back pain and a decline of functional mobility. Essentially, your office job is turning you into a hunched back with a flat ass. Not pretty.
Many issues must be addressed to combat this decline. When sitting with poor posture, the head is in an unnatural, forward position, supported by the slouched thoracic spine, neck and the shoulders are in a flexed forward position. Your glutes essentially go to sleep when sitting excessively, making it harder to activate them during movement and even possibly counteracting your hard work at the gym.
We’re designed to be upright with naturally aligned bodies, but we’re chronically in a slouched, sitting position and our bodies are adapting to this and becoming stuck in this position, decreasing our range of motion and functional abilities. Active steps must be taken to reverse the damage that lengthen the muscles that have been shortened and to strengthen the areas of the body that have been weakened.
Before we go into the corrective measures, it is important to not that standing also has its problems. You’re likely still typing at a computer, causing the forward slouching position, and people tend to favor one side of the body to stand on most often, leading to hip and back imbalances.
So, now that I’ve scared you, I want to offer some practical advice so that you can maintain the round booty you’ve worked so hard for in the gym!
First, make an effort to become more aware of your posture and try to maintain proper posture when possible. That is, back straight, shoulders back, chest open, and head straight. When sitting, it’s also advised to have your knees slightly lower than your hips with your feet flat on the floor.
Second, when possible, get up and move every 45 minutes for a total of two to four minutes. I don’t mean just walk around, though this is better than sitting, but what you should really do is purposeful movements that mobilize certain areas of the body and stabilizes other areas.
These movements focus on realigning the neck, extending the thoracic spine, opening the shoulders and lengthening the pecs, strengthening muscles in the back, create core stabilization, activate the glutes, and address hip and ankle mobility. Yes, that’s a very long list. I hope you’re realizing the true damage that excessive sitting causes.
During these short sitting breaks, there are a number of things you can do:
-Walk for two minutes, followed by a 30 second standing quad stretch on each leg
-20 seconds of air squats, followed by a 30 second plank, followed by 10 chin tucks
-10 wrist circles, 10 ankle circles, 10 arm circles, and 30 seconds of thoracic rotation
-One minute of standing belly breaths, followed by a 3 minute walk
-30 second sit-to-stands, 30 seconds single leg glute bridge on each side
-30 seconds fire hydrants on each side, followed by 1 minute of cat to cow
This is just a few of the moves you can do to realign your body. Assess your workspace and determine what you’re realistically able to do during your mini breaks.
Because your glutes and posterior chain are essentially asleep for most of the day, be sure to warm-up thoroughly before engaging in intense physical activity. And while in the gym, don’t neglect your glutes! Exercises like deadlifts, weighted hip extensions, lunges, and band walks will help activate your posterior chain and perk-up that office ass.
If you’re ready to combat the secretary spread and keep a rounded backside, you can delve into tons more sitting information here. I really encourage you to make your health a priority in 2017, starting simply by sitting less. If you want a comprehensive workout plan that addresses mobility, strength, power, speed, cardio, and lots of extras, look no further!
Now, get out of that chair and give me 10 air squats!