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Are you causing injury or hindering your fitness progression by sitting too much?
Exercising is great for your health, improving your overall fitness and well-being, plus it works wonders for the mind too! However, you could be hindering your own progress and even injuring yourself by not keeping active enough at work or during the day. We can’t sleep standing up – (damn you flamingoes!) but we can work that way! – at least for a little bit each day.
There’s no point in going for a great gym session or workout, only to spend the rest of the day on the sofa or at your desk! Don’t let excess sitting ruin your chances of a new P.B or to achieve your goals and here’s why:
Risks of Sitting Too Much
- Slows metabolism – being inactive causes your metabolism to slow down and you will be more likely to put on weight as well as feel more tired and sluggish.
- Muscle imbalances – Sitting makes some muscles contract without allowing the balancing muscles to react appropriately which means that areas such as your hips, glutes, back and abs develop deficits just from prolonged sitting!
- Body Weaknesses – For runners particularly, excess sitting can cause hip and IT band tightness which can reduce motion and hinder improvement
- Increased risk of injury – with weakened or imbalanced muscles you are more likely to injure yourself when exercising as you will have improper form and will be unable to deal with excessive impact leading to the degradation or your muscles and joints.
How To combat the effects of sitting
For those of you who work from home, why not stand and type at the kitchen side for an hour rather than sitting down (plus you might be able to squeeze in a few squats or get a workout in at the same time – I’m doing calf raises while writing this right now!).
Standing helps to avoid the muscle imbalances and strengthens your legs and feet for a double bonus!
Ensure that you pay attention to areas prone to weakness due to sitting and incorporate this into a well-rounded strength routine. For example, pay attention to knees, glutes, and hips. Some specific exercises to get you started that target weakened areas that you could try are:
- Bridges – for the hip flexors and IT Band
- Superman’s – for the lower back and pelvis
- Calf Raises – in a shocking twist- for your calves
- Lunges – for hamstrings, quads and glutes
Correct posture is incredibly important if your job role involves a lot of unavoidable sitting/driving or commuting.
The NHS has some great advice on “How To Sit Correctly” including the position of your keyboard/mouse and feet, as well as avoiding screen reflection.
Either in the morning or in the evening ensure that you have properly stretched out your muscles, some athletes find Foam rolling beneficial (I wrote a previous post explaining the basics in “Foam Rolling Info For Beginners“) and others enjoy yoga which can also be relaxing in the evening too.
Take a walk
This will help you to break up your day as well to stop staring at the screen. Why not go out for lunch and walk to the shops or worst case scenario if you can’t leave the office just walk around the office on your break (find an excuse to go chat to your colleagues if you have to just get out of that chair!)
if you have spent several hours sitting you need to ensure that you properly warm up to reduce your risk of injury and allow your body to adapt to the strains you are about to place on it. Warming up is important all the time but especially when you have been doing excess sitting.
Workout At Your Desk
Just because you are sitting down all day doesn’t mean you have to work out at home or later on, kill two birds with one stone and be extra productive! Check out my post on Desk Stretches & Exercises to find something suitable for you to get you started.
*You should speak to your doctor before you change your healthcare plan. Online health and fitness information is helpful but cannot replace the professional diagnosis and treatment you can obtain from a trained healthcare provider