Most people in the “1st world” have lost their ability to squat fully. Its largely a function of sitting on your butt for 7+ hours each day. Yep seven or so hours is the worldwide average. It being an average means that lots of people sit even more. Some research points at 15 hours a day!
The human body is meant to move. Unfortunately, clicking the channel changer or typing at your computer doesn’t count as movement insofar as not much of your body is used for those movements.
They actually call it “sitting disease” these days among medical professionals. Probably won’t be long before there’s a drug for it!
What does sitting do to your body?
Here’s eight bad things that sitting can and will do for you. Some occur in the short term, while others are cumulative effects of too much sitting over the years.
1. Reinforces bad posture
2. Causes muscle atrophy from lack of use
3. Causes bones to weaken from lack of use
4. Shortens the hip flexors making you less flexible
5. Slows down your metabolism and production of the fat burning enzyme lipase
6. Increases risks of cardiovascular disease.
7. Decreases insulin sensitivity
8. Slows down circulation in the legs
If you’re trying to lose weight, a great diet will be the most important thing, but it’s battling uphill to do so with lack of movement. Even if you don’t start an exercise program you need to move around.
What should you do about it?
- Sit on the Floor
Look, I know that you can’t just stop sitting. The thing is to do less of it. This is why I setup a treadmill desk for myself. The fact is that working out for even an hour each day doesn’t make up for all the problems of sitting for eight of them. It’s certainly better than not working out, but activity needs to be added between bouts of sitting.
Every 20-30 minutes of sitting can be interrupted by doing the following things.
These are easy to do in front of a TV at your home. Stand up. Walk around. Do full squats (or as full as you can do). Sit on your hunches if you can. And you can also sit on the floor in a variety of ways that actually increases your flexibility too.
At work you can probably find somewhere to do a few squats. Standing and walking won’t interrupt most people. Here sitting on the floor may not be appropriate (unless you have your own office than you can do what you please.)
For airplane rides it is commonly recommended to walk around the plane especially for longer flights.
An excellent teacher of movement, Ido Portal, came up with a brilliant challenge. Its very simple to. Squat for 30 minutes over a given day. Its not to do a certain number of reps, but to learn how to rest in the bottom position of a squat. Most people can’t comfortably do this. Why? Because they never do it.
But it’s a common resting position in the “3rd world”. As you begin working towards this goal and do it day after day your flexibility will surely improve. The goal isn’t to be able to stay in a full squat for 30 minutes in one go, but instead to spread this throughout your day.
Combine this with walking around, as the human body is uniquely built to do, and you’ll maintain your ability to move into older age, much better than most. Add some fun exercise on top of this and you’ll be good to go.
Logan Christopher has been called a physical culture renaissance man for his work in training like an oldtime strongman, bodyweight skills, kettlebells and more. Being born without genetic gifts for strength he sought out the best training information which led him into mental training and sports psychology which he has explored in depth. He is the author of several books and videos which you can find at www.LegendaryStrength.com. He’s also working with Chinese Tonic herbalism and Ayurveda to support his peak performance at www.SuperManHerbs.com