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The Dangers of Being in the Seated Position

Jessica Montgomery Waschezen, CPT & Nutrition Coach

Did you know… that one of the most common causes of irritability and pain in the body is from sitting? That’s right, sitting. Repeated hours of staying in the seated position on a daily basis is one of today’s leading “dangers” that I would like to help bring awareness to.

So often as a fitness professional, I work with clients who are dealing with chronic back pain, neck pain and/or hip pain. One of the first questions that I ask them is “if between drive time, and work time at their desks, do they find themselves in a seated position for at least 8 hours a day”. Too often, that answer is yes. Even more so now, as many job positions have us working remotely from home, we are not as apt to get up and visit another co-worker’s desk, or walk the halls to the copy machines. Small actions, yes. But those actions that once forced movement and standing, for many, no longer exist.

So WHY does the seated position cause many adverse effects on our body? Well, let’s take a look:

As we sit throughout the day, our posture starts to suffer. Poor posture, or “slouching” leads to muscular imbalances, decreased flexibility, decreased mobility, decreased strength, and diminished lung capacity. Many muscles in our posterior chain become lengthened and weak. As their opposing muscles become shortened and tight. So how can we fix these problems?

-Improving Flexibility: foam rolling/stretching of the hamstrings, calves, chest & anterior deltoids (shoulders)

-Combating the Muscle Imbalances through simple exercises: Hip Bridges, Supermans, Stiff-leg Deadlifts or Good Mornings (see images below). As a fitness professional, I would suggest starting with doing 3 sets, of 12-15 repetitions, of each exercise on a daily basis.

-Improving Mobility of the shoulders: Do the standing wall stretch (see image below). I would suggest holding this stretch for at least 20-30 seconds on each arm, for 3 sets.

-Lung capacity: Lung capacity will improve if a consistent routine of the suggested exercises and stretches take place, along with an “active lifestyle”. What constitutes an active lifestyle? Daily walks, bike rides, exercise classes, strength training, yoga, swimming…the list goes on and on. Find activities that you ENJOY, and do them consistently.

Hip Bridges (3 sets, 12-15 reps)

Supermans (3 sets, 12-15 reps)

Good Mornings (3 sets, 12-15 reps)

Standing Wall Stretch (30 sec/arm, 3 sets)

For some, it is inevitable that we will find ourselves having to sit for much of the day. The stretches and exercises provided, can help you to “combat” those adverse effects that take place, and alleviate any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.

Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.

Keep moving, Level Up Family.

-Coach Jess

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1 Comment

Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wilson
May 15, 2023

Great information and guidance Jess! This is exactly the advice I have received from my chiropractor and osteopath for dealing with low back pain. It is all about strengthening the posterior chain as I have learned from reading the book "Foundation" by Dr. Eric Goodman. All good insight.

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