Newest Health Threat…Sitting?
By Megan Trombley
Prior to CrossFit, I wasn’t a highly active person but I have never been one to sit still. All of the jobs I have had since graduating college required me to be on my feet the entire work day, including my lunch breaks on some days. Over the years my body had grown used to this and hasn’t known any different, however, a few weeks ago, I unintentionally put my body through some “experimental sitting”. I would like to tell you about my experiences, what I learned and how you can use what I went through, to help you.
As the the former Office Manager/Coach and now Head Coach, I have always been standing or walking around. A few weeks ago, as I transitioned out of the Office Manager role, I found myself no longer tied to the computer. I took up residence sitting on the floor on a mat or sitting on the boxes stacked in the corner. At first this change seemed totally unassuming and harmless but I would quickly learn that I was very wrong.
The Rapid and Drastic Decline
Week 1 observations
-No pain or discomfort while sitting or standing
-Increased caffeine intake, feeling more tired than usual with no changes to sleep habits
-Increased tightness in hamstrings while working out, particularly during any type of squatting and running
Week 2 observations
-Mild pain in my tailbone and hip joints while sitting
-Continued increased caffeine intake and having a hard time focusing on the task at hand
-Continued increased tightness in hamstrings during squatting/running and now feeling during standing and while leading mobility for classes
Week 3 observations
-Tailbone and hip joints feel bruised while sitting and throb while sleeping
-Continued increased caffeine intake and lack of focus
-Increased tightness not only in hamstrings but now in calves during any type of movement while working out and while standing
-Burning sensation in the bottom of both feet all day
Week 4 observations
-Hip joints popping during any type of motion, including sitting and standing
-IT band bands very tight and favoring one side while squatting
-Continued increased caffeine intake, lack of focus and now general irritability
-General tightness of low back and both legs all day, no matter the position and feeling restless while falling asleep
Sitting is a QUICK and silent killer. It only takes a few weeks to turn a new routine into a habit and this was one habit that I was more than happy to kick. I couldn’t believe that after only 4 weeks of sitting my body completely started to fail me physically and even more surprisingly, mentally. Luckily for me, I had the ability to easily change back to standing and walking. Unfortunately, I know so many people who are forced into long periods of sitting while at work whether it is at a desk, in front a screen or driving in a car. For those of you in these situations, it may not be as easy as deciding to stand at work, but for your overall health, it is so important to make some positive changes.
Undoing the Damage
Here are some great resources for stretching while at work or at home and some tips about how to squeeze some activity into each day to break up long periods of sitting:
This site references which muscles groups are most affected from sitting while at work. There are 9 examples of stretches that can be easily and discreetly done at work and informative pictures included
Another site with great pictures/videos of stretches that are easy to perform while at work
This site gives some pointers on how to alleviate neck and back pain by switching up some of your daily workplace habits such as practicing good posture and adjusting the height of your computer monitor
I have lost count of how many times folks come into the gym and mention their hips being tight or how much pressure is built up in their lower back and the majority of these people sit all day. Your time spent in the gym is only a very small portion of the day, and even though we help, we cannot reverse the side effects of hours of sitting. I encourage you to take a look at the links above or ask a Coach for even more mobility help specifically geared towards you. I guarantee you will notice a difference not only in your workouts but in your general well being!