Your workouts are critical to whatever goals you may be pursuing, whether it is increasing muscle mass, losing fat, training for a sport or event, or just general health. Often a great deal of planning and effort goes into designing the parameters of these workouts and the completion of them often involves some degree of pain and suffering. The problem is that for whatever your goal, the real work does not stop at the end of your workout. Not getting enough sleep, poor nutrition, and elevated stress levels can practically negate your workout efforts. You have to get a handle on these to really maximize the potential of your hard work in training.
There is however a less obvious culprit, something most of us do for hours every day, which may not only be putting your forward progress in reverse, but actually causing devastating, negative health effects. In fact, some would even say it is killing you. This culprit you ask?
That is right. According to some studies. Sitting may be killing you!
I first became aware of some of the negative effects of sitting while dealing with a low back injury. Sitting creates spinal compression, particularly in the low back region and can exacerbate low back pain, particularly if associated with an injury. Beyond this, prolonged sitting can lead to muscle imbalances resulting in a decline of performance. When a person is seated, the hip flexors remain fixed in a shortened state contributing to the gluteals becoming inactive. When the gluteals are inactive, more stress is placed on the muscles of the lower back and essentially they end up bearing loads they were not intended to bear, leading to pain, muscles imbalances and possible injury. Further, the gluteals are large muscles that play a major role in the development of strength and power. If they are “turned off” from prolonged sitting, performance will surely falter.
Beyond muscle imbalances and performance impediments, there are even more grand consequences of sitting to your health. In a society where obesity is an epidemic, the more you sit, the more likely you are to be obese. In a culture where heart disease runs rampant, the more you sit the more likely you are to develop heart disease. The most alarming statistic: sitting increases your chance of death by up to 40%!
Unfortunately we live in a society of technological conveniences that promote sitting and our workplaces often require many hours of sitting in front of computers. We will discuss what you can do to sit less and help negate the health and performance consequences of prolonged sitting in a later post. For now, keep in mind that good workouts do not make up for bad habits when you are not training. In the case of sitting the consequences are surprisingly serious.
Check this out: