How many diets have you tried as an adult? How many times have you tried a new workout? You know the routine.
You start to get results, but you don’t get the results that you want. When this happens, most people go back to their old patterns. You start eating the same foods that you used to eat and stop working out.
If you blame yourself for these setbacks, you’re missing an important detail. There could be one thing that is getting in the way of the results that you want. This one obstacle could be all that is standing in the way of getting in better shape.
What is the one thing that you need to address? Sitting.
Sitting in a chair for hours at a time could be the problem that has kept you from getting a trimmer waist. Even if you work out on a regular basis, sitting all day can still increase your risk of heart attack and limit your chances of losing weight.
The first problem with sitting in a chair all day is that it can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke. It limits blood circulation. Blood clots can form, which leads to the heart health complications.
But, heart health isn’t the only issue related to sitting. Sitting also forces you into an unnatural position.
Your body isn’t designed to remain in a fetal position. That is what happens when you sit. You are bending at the waist and curling your lower body toward your upper body. This puts pressure on a number of muscles that are crucial for optimal health, endurance, and sports performance.
At the top of the list of muscles impacted by sitting is the psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is perhaps the most important muscle in your entire body.
The psoas muscles connect your upper body and lower body. The muscle originates along the spine and inserts near the femur, connecting your back to your thigh.
You use this muscle whenever you perform any action involving leg movement or bending at the waist. When you bend over to pick something up, stretch your back, kick your leg, walk, or perform nearly any action.
A weak psoas muscle will impact your stability and endurance, as it is the driving force behind the muscles needed for running, sprinting, and athletic feats.
When you sit all day, you’re not using this muscle. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. You could always target the muscle with strength training exercises during your workout routine.
But, this isn’t as easy with the psoas muscle.
Sitting all day puts the psoas muscle in an unnatural position – the fetal position. You are made to contract the psoas muscle and pull your body into a fetal position as a natural response to danger.
Curling into this shape is meant to protect your vital organs from attack. But, remaining in this position for too long is bad for the muscle. The same is true with any muscle, but the psoas muscle is one of the few muscles that is put into an unnatural position for an extended period.
If you were to touch your right hand to your right shoulder and hold that position for several hours, you’d likely experience a dull ache afterward.
The problem is that you don’t always feel this ache on your psoas muscle, but the problem is still there. The bottom line is that you need to fix this issue.
Sitting is bad. But, your job may require you to sit for hours at a time. You may even need to spend hours each day commuting to and from work.
If you can’t avoid sitting, then you’ll need to take a few extra precautions. These steps will limit the impact of sitting all day:
These four simple steps will help minimize the pressure on your psoas muscle. Every one or two hours, you should take a short break. Avoid sitting during these breaks. You could eat your snack while standing or walk around and stretch your legs.
If you have to wait more than one hour to take a break, you should still get up and stretch every hour. Stand up at your desk and stretch.
Reach your arms to the ceiling and breath in. Then, bend and touch your toes while you exhale. Repeat this once or twice before sitting back down. This will help warm up your muscles. Similar to warming up before a workout, you should warm up before sitting down.
Along with these steps, everyone should avoid sitting as much as possible. And, you should consider including exercises that are intended to help strengthen your hip flexors.
Your hip flexors are the muscles located around your hips. This includes the psoas muscle. By searching for exercises that target your hip flexors, you can target the psoas muscle.
Generally, the best exercises for improving the strength of your psoas muscle involve dynamic stretching. With static stretching, you hold stretch a muscle and hold the pose. This doesn’t offer a complete range of motion.
Dynamic stretching involves multiple movements or a complete range of motion. For example, leg kicks lunges, and squats are forms of dynamic stretching. With these movements, you’re stimulating the muscle fibers and connective tissues in a way that isn’t possible with static stretches.
Begin including these stretches in your daily routine. You can perform 10 to 15 minutes of dynamic stretches before you work out or go for a run. If you don’t currently work out, then use these stretches as a way to start including exercise in your daily routine.
The main issue is that sitting all day impairs your ability to maintain your psoas muscles. You need to address this problem in order to get in shape, stay in shape, or lose weight.
If you want to overcome the biggest obstacle to better health, you need to avoid sitting as much as possible, take regular breaks, and perform dynamic stretches.