Sitting comfortably?

The odds are that right now you are engaged in an activity that is harming your health.

Humans are not built to spend the day sitting, yet that is what most of us now do.

Just some of the consequences are that your gluteal and hip flexor muscleswaste away.

These muscles are important for stabilising you. When they weaken it increases your likelihood of injuring yourself when you do exercise.

“An ergonomically designed chair or workstation is important, but if you just sit in the same position for long periods of the day, you are still going to have problems,” says physiotherapist Leon Almashan.

He and his colleagues at PhysioExtra in Ham, Surrey regularly treat the results of our sedentary lifestyle.

“Most people do nothing until they get a back problem, then go to the doctor who prescribes painkillers,” says personal trainer Johnny Crook. “This only masks the problem.

“People often try to compensate for long periods of sitting by going to the gym and doing intense exercise sessions, or they go running. This can lead to injury if the underlying weakness is not dealt with.”

After a consultation and assessment, the experts at PhysioExtra develop an individual exercise plan that strengthens parts of the body that have wasted away due to lack of use.

“But coming to a personal trainer once a week isn’t going to fix it,” warns Crook. “You need to incorporate these exercises into your daily routine.”

In addition to specific exercises to strengthen key muscles, he also recommends the following simple steps:

  • Walk or cycle instead of driving
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator,
  • Stand up and walk around every 20 minutes when you are at your workstation