Spend Less Time Sitting
Note: this blog post was written by Joe, CrossFit trainer and Physical Therapist. It stresses the fact that we aren’t built to sit for long periods of time. About a month ago, I started using a standing desk at work all day. I can feel a huge difference, particularly in my hips. I was having lots of pain in them daily and now I have none.
The mandrill is the largest of all the monkeys. It has a beautifully colored and striped face with very large canines and is by no means anything to mess with. The mandrill, like all baboons has a calloused and hard bottom. It spends most of it’s day sitting and has adapted it’s specialized bottom for this activity. It’s legs are smaller in comparison to it’s more muscular upper extremities. There is no other animal on the planet quite like the majestic mandrill. We humans however do not have this adaptation and have become bipedal. Our bottoms are not calloused but rather meaty and our lower extremities have become the epitome of upright mammalian locomotion. We use our gluteal musculature and our powerful legs for running, jumping, squatting as well as lifting. It was never in our nature to sit for long periods at a time. The chair is a human invention after all and does not exist in nature. The bushmen of Africa and the Australian aborigines to this day spend their days walking, running, jumping, squatting and foraging for food. Sounds a lot like CrossFit to me. I seriously doubt that Rob will be programming a WOD involving sitting anytime soon.
So what’s the big deal with sitting? The picture below illustrates some of the physiological changes that occur during immediate as well as prolonged sitting. There are numerous studies and references on this subject that will validate the negative effects of sitting. From a mobility standpoint I will say that sitting leads to acute as well as chronic back and neck pain, postural imbalances, headaches, muscle weakness, lethargy and a proportionate decline in physical performance. Increase in stress hormones will also contribute to anxiety as well as depression.
What to do? Obviously spend less time sitting. Spend less time with your head down (reading, using your laptop or e-reader, playing cards, etc.). Be conscious of your posture and the time you spend with your head down as opposed to neutral or turning your head into other extremes during your waking hours. Pay attention to your posture with an unbiased eye. Mobilize and stretch your neck, pectoral muscles, your deep hip flexors (psoas and iliacus muscles) and quadriceps. Raise your arms above your head frequently and find a reason to look up at the sky throughout the day. Physical activity strengthens the walls of the veins and arteries and keeps those nasty and painful varicosities from developing in your legs. Break up those long car rides and stretch at rest stops.
PS: Paleo Challenge sign-up sheet is posted on whiteboard near office. Sign up by May 17.
Workout of the Day:
Back Squat – 2×[email protected] 70%
Front Squat – 2×3 @ 90%
6 x 500 m row
– these are all-out efforts, each for time. Rest/recover no more than 5 minutes between intervals.