Sitting down for many hours every day is known as the main part of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s said to affect the spine and body posture, as well as internal organs, thus leading to numerous health issues. Does this also interfere with your muscle building efforts?
The answer is not what you may want to hear. Although intensely trained muscles do need some time to recover, sitting down for too long can actually make them shrink. It is truly killing your results and eating at your muscle.
What happens when you sit for long hours?
Sitting excessively is bad for your health overall and also affects your performance in the gym. The muscles being most affected are those of the back, legs and hips. Here is one example to illustrate what’s happening:
Your hamstrings are tight, while your glutes are stretched too much. In such case, the glutes can no longer contract for a maximum of power.
The sitting position thus affects your ability to perform squats and deadlifts with heavy weights – the exercises that would help you put on some serious muscle. As you weaken a series of muscle, the load is passed onto other ones. These will then be prone to injury. Ever heard of hamstrings injuries? Yes, sitting at the desk is often to blame for those.
It may come as a huge surprise that such things can happen just because of sitting – which seems like such a natural thing to do. However, it may be easy for you to sit at the desk for hours on end, it may not feel like a stretch at all, but it’s completely unnatural for your body, which is designed to move and change position frequently.
One of the ways to counter-act the effects of sitting is to remember to activate the “sleeping muscles”. Below are 3 mobility exercises that can help you do so in a matter of minutes:
1. Bent knee twists
Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees and feet together as you bring them from one side to another. Do this only to a comfortable extent, don’t force it. Hold your arms stretched out so that they form a T with your upper body.
2. Glute bridges
From the same position, bent your knees and spread them at a 90 degree angle. Contract your glutes and get your pelvis as high as you can. Try to not touch the floor as you go back down.
3. Kneeling back extensions
Sit on your knees, face down and extend one leg plus the opposite arm at the same time. This will help flex and extend your thighs.
The lack of movement will lead to a progressive deterioration of your hip muscles as they tighten up. Even if you train after your desk hours, your movement will be limited due to lower mobility. Instead of supporting load and movement through the hip muscles, it will become the duty of the spine to do so. The result: even more back pain for you.
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