It’s called “office ass” and it’s not as hot as it sounds.
As if we needed another reason to stand more, sitting too often seems to be the culprit behind many a misshapen booty. That’s right, sitting for an entire workday not only wreaks havoc on your general health but can alter the shape of your rearend for the worse. But before you go throwing your office chair over a cliff, protecting your assets is easier than you might think. If you’re sitting at your desk from 9 to 5, a few easy changes could make all the difference.
What happens to your body when you sit?
You may be thinking that the pressure of your weight against your chair is what changes your shape but that’s not the case. While standing our calves, core and glutes are all engaged to keep us stable and upright. Alternatively, when we sit many of our muscles, including the glutes, just don’t have any work to do and can weaken over time with inactivity. This can result in a flatter bum and numerous other physical ailments including poor posture and tight hip flexors. When we sit, blood flow to this group of muscles slows, thereby weakening the muscles.
Even though weak glutes can cause a loss in muscle tone, it’s not just the shape of your butt that’s changing. Your whole body reacts to your long term sitting in a way that changes your silhouette negatively.
Tight hip flexors can lead to a condition called anterior pelvic tilt. This can be identified with a forward tilt of the pelvis, and over-arched lower back curve and/or a jutted-out abdomen. According to one study, within a group of 120 participants, 85% of men and 75% of women had some degree of anterior pelvic tilt.This condition affects almost everyone to some degree but should not be taken lightly. Left untreated, or if exercise is not implemented to reverse its effects, it can cause back and knee pain, unsightly posture, and back injuries.
So what can you do to reverse office ass?
Support Your Lower Back
We all have to sit down sometime so it’s important to choose a chair with proper lumbar support. If you’re stuck with a less than ideal seating situation, a pillow or rolled up towel placed comfortably behind the lower back will take pressure off of your spine, help keep your posture straight and keep your core muscles engaged while in the seated position. Remember that even with supportive seating, your glutes will still be resting while you sit. Make sure you take regular breaks to move around if you’ll be sitting for an extended period of time.
Adjust your seating
For an optimal ergonomic posture while sitting, keep your chair’s seat tilted slightly downward in the front so that your hips are are little higher than your knees. Raise or lower your chair so that your feet are flat on the ground. You could even opt for a chair seat cushion to release pressure. This will reduce the pressure on your spine and will allow you to sit for longer periods of time without hurting your hip muscles.
Upgrade to more ergonomic desk products
Staring down at screens all day produces muscle tension and could cause permanent posture issues. Keep your shoulders and neck tension free by raising your monitors up to the proper height. Purchasing a monitor arm or a laptop stand are easy solutions that help your posture and your productivity.
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Work your glutes and core
If you’re sitting often, paying special attention to your glutes and core during your workout can help counteract the inactivity and strengthen key muscle groups. The moves that work best for you will depend on your body, but targeted exercises such as squats, glute bridges and planks are a popular option. You can even do some of these at the office during breaks if you have the space!
Investing in a standing desk is the most permanent way to fight office ass and it’s the easiest way to see and feel your body change. Proven boosts to work productivity has even encouraged some companies to fund desk upgrades for their employees. If your workplace hasn’t considered upgrading to standing desks yet, convincing your boss to make the move is easier that your think. However, if you’re not ready to take the plunge on new office furniture, opting to stand or walk during breaks will help keep those glutes awake.