Our modern lifestyle has changed quite a bit from our Paleolithic ancestors. No longer do we start the day with a nice cup of hot tree-bark water and a leisurely sabertooth tiger hunt until the children were either full of tiger stew or eaten. The effects of sitting all day simply weren’t as pronounced without a Whole Foods nearby.
This modern lifestyle has several benefits – living past our mid 30s, modern medicine, and the ability to get our food on a bun at a drive through window.
With these benefits has come a considerable decrease in overall activity levels, especially in the modern age where most of us sit at computers for the majority of our day. But like everything, these benefits have a cost associated with our futuristic computer driven lifestyle
1. The Effects of Sitting ALWAYS Include Back Pain
When you literally sit on your ass all day, you don’t let your ass do the work it’s supposed too. As the biggest and most powerful muscle in the body, the glutes have a powerful effect on everything from running, to jumping, to posture, and back pain.
When we sit all day on these muscles, we never let them turn on, and then our back “goes out” doing something silly like putting on pants or picking up a fork off the ground.
If the glutes are turned off, then that means our low back muscles have to pick up the slack, and they’re woefully unequipped for that task. Considering that 80% of people in the world will have back pain during their lives, it’s important to learn how to activate the glutes, keep them turned on, and for the love of lumbar, learn to move correctly – especially when we’re picking things up.
Do This Exercise to Fix it: Suspension Trainer Single Leg Deadlift.
2. Siting Makes Your Brain Stop Being More Smarter
I’m writing this article while sitting on a couch with pretty bad posture, so please excuse my de-oxygenated brain sentence structure.
Brain function is related to blood flow, and when all your blood is pooling in your legs and lower body since you’ve been chained to a desk for 8 hours, your brain cannot function optimally.
Not only that, but poor posture also limits blood flow to the neck and head by tightening the upper traps and putting the head and neck into a horrible position.
Make sure that you’re standing up every half hour or so and reseting your posture. This will help you feel better, think more clearly, and avoid falling into an extended period of awful posture.
Do This Exercise to Fix It: 3-Way Band Shoulder Warmup
3. Sitting Causes Muscle Atrophy
If you don’t use it, you lose it. Everyone who’s seen 40 Year Old Virgin knows that. What you might not know, is that applies to things like abs, balance, and your college Spanish classes.
This is especially true in your abs – and not just your 6-pack, Fabio. Your largest ab muscle is called the transverse abdominus, and that’s the one that acts as a girdle around your waist to keep you back safe, and yes – your waist tight also.
If you’re constantly hunched over staring at your computer or phone like a soft pale gargoyle, you’ll never have the posture and core muscles that you need to look or feel your best.
The fix for this isn’t just countless situps – that will actually bother your back more, especially if you’re already tight and weak there. Instead, opt for a full body exercise where you have to keep your core tight while performing other actions. This recruits more muscle fibers, neurological control (makes your brain work harder), and is generally better for you.
Do This Exercise to Fix It: Suspension Trainer Power Pull with Band
Yes – it would be great if you could get a standing desk.
It would also be awesome if you could stand up every 15 minutes and stretch. But that’s not a reality for most of us. So try out these exercises as a warmup for your next workout, or grab Bod In A Box so that you can do these exercises at home, and not wait till you hit the gym.
Better yet, take your Bod in a Box to your office and do them there.
Exercise is medicine. Don’t forget to take yours on a daily basis.