A recent study found that Canadian office workers typically spend 75% of their workday sitting. Of course, this is the norm in most office environments; you’re either sitting at your desk, sitting in a meeting, or sitting in your car while commuting to/from work. Unfortunately, all this ‘sitting’ has a significant negative impact on your overall health. In fact, according to Dr. Douglas W. Stoddard, Medical Director at SEMI, “sitting is considered the new smoking, and we all need to find more ways to build in physical activity as part of our days in order to keep our bodies healthy, retain mobility, and prevent disease”.
Research shows that people who sit for more than 4 hours a day are at an increased risk of developing certain health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Back pain
- Muscle degeneration
The Importance of Healthy Glutes
When sitting at your desk, you might notice some pain and tightness in your hips and glutes. Prolonged sitting can cause your glutes and hip flexors to tighten, making you feel stiff and sore.
Inactive glute muscles limit your hip flexibility and pelvic stability, causing compression in the lower back. This leads to lower back pain and poor posture.
Weak Hips Affect the Entire Body
Hips are often overlooked as a source of pain – most people don’t realize that weak hips can affect the entire body! Tight hips can alter the alignment of your spine, which can cause muscle spasms as your body works overtime to stabilize the spine.
Spending years working a desk job can cause problems as you age, including an increased risk of falling, weak hip joint, and spinal damage. Sitting puts excessive pressure on the hips, which causes compression in the discs in your lumbar spine (lower back/buttock area). This can lead to the premature degeneration of the musculoskeletal structure in that area, causing intense lower back pain.
Get Moving For Healthy Hips & Glutes
While excessive sitting can be detrimental to your overall health, don’t quit your day job just yet!
The best way to counter the effects of excessive sitting is by keeping your glutes active. Make sure you are getting regular exercise after work to keep your hips in shape. Even just going for a walk and doing a few targeted hip stretches can help.
You should also ensure that you have good posture while sitting at your desk. Your lower back should be supported, and your hips should be slightly above the knees. Your shoulders should be relaxed, with your elbows at table height. Keep your head straight and your screen at eye level to ensure optimal posture.
Massage therapy can also help get your back, legs, and glutes active and in shape. We recommend getting at least one session of massage therapy every month to boost your overall musculoskeletal health.
Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute is the leading sports medicine, physiotherapy, and chiropractic clinic in the Greater Toronto Area. We offer expert diagnoses, a variety of treatment options, and high-quality care. Click here to learn more about the services we offer, or contact us to schedule an appointment.