You sit on one of the most powerful muscles in your body. Running, jumping, climbing the stairs, and so many daily activities require the gluteus muscles to fully kick in. However, after sustaining prolonged and repetitive bad postures like hours of sitting, the gluteus muscles can be inhibited, which makes the hamstrings—the muscles on the back of the leg—take over. Also, sitting throws off your entire posture and creates tight hip flexors that may cause low back pain. Hunching backs can cause neck pain too.
If this was not enough, a recent study concludes that sitting for long periods even if you workout, increases the mortality rate. You even alter your fat metabolism when you sit too long. But if you're like me, and workout regularly, your glutes can feel like pancakes after eight hours or longer at the computer. Here is what you can do to keep moving and shake off marathon sitting sessions.
a) Have a timer: I have an alarm that goes off every 20 minutes. This is time to walk the hallway and do a few stretches. Sometimes, I throw 20 squats where I barely touch the office chair to force the muscles to work deep enough.
b) Check your hydration: Have a glass of water close by that needs to be refilled in the kitchen. This will have a double benefit. If you're dehydrated, your mind and body slow down, so kick them back into gear by drinking water—and take a stroll to refill.
c) Coffee excuse: I always find a way to walk 10 minutes to grab a coffee—okay, no cream and other sugary-high fat toppings.
d) Park far away: If you know that you'll have to sit for 8 hours, make sure to walk a little bit more before you come into the office
e) Stand up every time you can: when taking calls or if someone pops in for a quick question or comment, stand up!
f) No excuses: Certainly, we may spend 8 hours or so sitting, but the day has 24 so what you do the rest of the time matters. Try to move everywhere you go. Besides exercising at home we have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of all the house chores. Do them vigorously and burn extra calories.
g) Dumbbells on call: Pull out a pair of dumbbells for a few sets of resistance training exercises that emphasize the legs, back, and chest muscles—squats, lunges, back row, chest press, and shoulder raises. This along with stretching the same muscles will avoid future pains and aches that come along with long sitting.