Are You Sitting Too Much?
Written By Bryce Smith
You spend hours upon hours during the course of a week working on your mobility, yet your mobility is not improving as rapidly as you would like. In particular, you have found that you are extremely tight in your hips and your upper back. What could potentially be the cause of this constant tightness?
Let’s say you spend half an hour both before and after your training sessions working on mobility and you train an hour a day, four or five days a week. That sounds like a pretty standard training schedule for most CrossFitters. Now think about the amount of time you spend sitting – that includes on the toilet, at the dinner table, in your car, at your desk, or simply lounging on the couch watching television. As a society, we love to count calories, steps taken during the day, hours trained, miles run, but everyone forgets to manage the amount of time they spend sitting in a chair.
Poor posture and tight hips seem to be major problems that I see daily in the gym. Both of these issues can be linked to sitting with internally rotated shoulders at a desk for hours on end. The enhancement of technology and the growth of social media also has people texting and typing with their heads forward and, as a result, the musculature in the front of the body gets tight and shortened while the musculature in the back of the body gets weak and lengthened.
Excess sitting has been connected with a huge number of health problems. Sitting for long periods of time and not standing or moving tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles. It has been linked with high blood pressure, obesity, bad cholesterol, and too much belly fat. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to less fat being burned which later causes blood to flow more sluggishly. This poor circulation can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other things .
Even if you exercise for an hour a day, it still will not reverse the eight hours of sitting that you have done. Does exercise compensate for a poor night’s sleep? No, it does not. So why then would exercise compensate for the fact that many of us sit all day long?
Try some of the suggestions below to combat our sitting habits:
Break up sitting time by getting up every so often and moving around. This will enhance circulation and lengthen the muscle tissues.
Keep track of the amount of time you sit each day and make sure you balance out that time with not just exercising, but stretching with movements like the couch stretch seen here, or the perfect stretch seen here. Both of those exercises are tremendously beneficial when trying to loosen up tight hips and open your joints. Practicing these movements can significantly change how your body responds physiologically .
Grab a foam roller and roll out your upper back to loosen the fascia between the shoulder blades and the spine. You can also work on t-spine extension and rotation all of which can be seen here.
Avoid sitting completely by using a standing desk. Check out this video by The Primal Blueprint’s Mark Sisson, showing some of the ways he has changed the work space of his office which has enhanced the productivity, safety, and longevity of his employees.
By incorporating easy mobility into your day and getting up often, you will not only move more efficiently in the gym, but you will also start to lengthen the tight tissues and hips that have occurred as a result of years of sitting.
1) Doheny, Kathleen. “Sitting Your Life Away?” WebMD. Michael W. Smith, M.D., 7 Apr. 2014. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.