Last week, I wrote about the negative effects of sitting. To say that some of the stats cited were shocking would be an understatement. I mean, I figured that sitting too much wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but… a decrease in Fat Burning Enzymes? … lack of electrical impulse to the legs IMMEDIATELY? … and a 40% greater death rate than non- sitters?
This week I want to approach excessive sitting from the perspective of a fitness professional. For 20 years, I have been working with clients from all walks of life. Super fit athletes and totally sedentary post- accident victims. While they may have very little in common, the one thing that almost ALL of our clients have in common are the effects of “over sitting”. In the modern world, we do most of our work and most of our play sitting without ever changing positions.
In the past, even the activities that required sitting, like watching TV and typing required breaks in the sitting to continue. Simply put, you had to get up and walk to the television to change channels and you had to get up and actually file a paper away across the room when you got to the end of a written report. These little, seemingly insignificant breaks, gave you a chance to straighten your legs, your back and to rotate your torso and actually stretch your body. The phrase that I love is that it allowed you to “undo the sitting position”.
When someone sits too long, too often, we tend to see a few really common deficiencies in their bodies.
1- Shortened tight hip flexors.
2- Short, tight hamstrings.
3- Tight lumbar muscles (low back).
4- Rounded shoulders and upper back with weakened scapular (shoulder blades) muscles and tight pectoral (chest) muscles.
The result is that people who sit longer have sore lower backs, headaches, neck and shoulder pain and they breathe more shallow and have trouble running injury free due to stride changes as a result of all of the tightness and weakness in their legs.
Top 3 Exercises to Undo the Sitting Position
1- Medicine Ball Chopper 3 x 15 each way
2- Scapular Retraction with Rubber Tubing or “Shoulder Blade Squeeze” 3 x 15
3- Kneeling Kickback 3 x15 with each leg
Add 3 sets each of these into the warmup of your regular exercise routine three times per week and you be amazed at how good you will feel and how much better you will move within a couple of weeks.
Ernie Schramayr– All Canadian Fitness