Do you spend your 9-5 chained to your desk chair? Then you could be one of the 22.7% of Suffolk adults considered ‘inactive’. That is to say, that you spend less than 30 minutes being physically active per week.
Suffolk’s figures are emblematic of a larger-scale problem across the UK, exacerbated by a sedentary office culture. If this is you, you probably want to be wary of the following:
Gluteal amnesia. AKA Dead butt syndrome
Yup – you heard right. Dead butt syndrome is just one of the potential risks of under-using your glutes. When this occurs, it’s because one of your three main gluteal muscles has gone dormant and your other muscles are working to overcompensate. Symptoms include pain in your lower back, hip, ankles and knees.
Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Prolonged sitting causes your internal system to function more sluggishly. This leads to hypertension and an increased resistance to insulin. According to the NHS, every hour of being sedentary increases a person’s risk of being diabetic by a whopping 22%. Similarly, people with a sedentary lifestyle are more than twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
Poor mental health
The benefits of exercise on mental health are well-documented. Pumping blood and oxygen through your brain helps release feel-good hormones, such as endorphins. The opposite is true of sitting. When we remain sedentary, our brain functions slow, reducing the amount of ‘happy-chemicals’ in our brain. Ultimately, this leads to a heightened risk of depression and anxiety.
Exercises to improve posture
- Plank – having a strong core is the key to a good posture. The plank works on a variety of abdominal muscles, whilst also engaging your back and shoulders, arms, glutes and hamstrings.Learn how to do the plank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASdvN_XEl_c
- Cobra pose – this is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles along your spine, arms and glutes. The cobra pose is valuable for reducing stiffness in your lower back and improving flexibility.Learn how to do the cobra pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgvolE4NAH0
- Cat-cow – this is a good exercise for strengthening your core and pelvis, and can also improve ‘text neck’ – a visible indication of looking down at your phone regularly (which can also be solved by simply keeping your phone at eye level.)Learn how to do the cat-cow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzM3QWeajwA
- Russian twists – Russian twists strengthen your oblique muscles and rectus abdominis (also known as your six-pack muscle). Working on these muscles is vital to posture and stability. Learn how to do Russian twists here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvNPZCtt8NQ
- Bridge – another great one for core stability, the bridge exercise strengthens your glute muscles, hamstrings, pelvis and is particularly beneficial for building up your erector spinae – the muscle that runs along your spine.Learn how to do the bridge pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bbE64NuDTUAre you looking to improve your posture? Why not speak to Abbeycroft Leisure’s qualified and experienced fitness team. If you’re already a member, then you’re entitled to a FREE personal exercise plan as part of your membership package! Find out more here.