Is Sitting Too Much Really Ruining Your Mobility?

7 min read.

Your back hurts, your hip hurts, your shoulders and neck are always sore from being slumped over your desk or behind the wheel all the time - damn daily life tasks! They’re ruining your flexibility and movement forever, right!?


Well, wrong.

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It’s a bit of a cop out really if I’m honest. Yes, sitting for long periods of time will make you feel stiffer, but remember that you’re nothing special – it’s not causing you any more problems than anyone else! What you do the rest of the time (when you are not sitting) is probably where you’re going wrong.
 

This rant/blog is coming from minor anger at my past self but also the common ingrained perception into people that your work or life habits are shooting you in the foot; you have to spend your days at a desk/ behind a wheel/ performing repetitive tasks etc… so nothing can be changed, or that it’s going to be this impossible mad uphill battle to fight against the soreness.

 
Here’s the thing though, there are just as many people that have to stand all day, or have physical jobs, even personal trainers that are just as stiff, sore or as limited as you!


Which you should take as a positive!

 
It means everybody is doing things wrong 😎
 


Do I need to stretch for hours a day to counteract sitting?


Then the other massive barrier I see to making a change to your mobility is the belief that it’s going to take a massive amount of time and effort, when you see the Movement Guru posts of:

 
Modern society has lost its ability to freely articulate world and space with its dependence on chairs and long office hours the human body isn’t being given enough movement nutrients...”

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Which is fine, you know what, that’s some people’s jam... but for I’d say 81.3% of the population what they think is:

 
This absolute spoon wants me to wake up at 4am, tediously stretch for 3 hours and buy some sort of kneeling chair for my open plan office!? No chance

 Which is also fine. It’s not that people don’t care and love being in pain… it’s just other things have higher priority – sleep for instance. If you set the bar too high, most people can’t be bothered.
 
 

There’s an easy-peasy fix instead


So if I was to say it’s actually easy-peasy to counteract sitting, just how easy-peasy are we talking?

 
You’d be lying if you said you aren’t a bit intrigued now.

 
A 5 minute routine is all you need!
 

When you first get out of bed in the morning, or just before you go to bed in the evening, take 5 minutes and move! Let’s get into why this is so effective and what exactly you do for those 5 minutes.

 
First thing you want to keep in your mind is: if you’re doing the right things, you will make an improvement, that’s just the way things work. If you’re making an easy habit out of doing the right things regularly then 5-10 minutes a day can be plenty to massively offset the effects of sitting for extended periods of time.

 
Could you make a life-changing, dramatic, guru-level improvement faster if you put more time in per day? Sure, but are you going to stick to that for more than a week?

 
You’re better to give yourself the lowest barrier possible when building a new habit, then you may or may not add more on when or if it suits you – but you don’t need to put pressure on yourself. If it takes you a year to get to the same place that you “could have got” in three months, you still got there anyways so, who cares? Roll out of bed, still in your pyjamas and move for 2 minutes on your bedroom floor if you need to. You do you!

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The next thing to realise is the intensity that you experiencing when you are sitting... it’s not that much is it? Your half-flexed hip and rounded upper back isn’t an extreme motion, you’re just resting, it’s just a position. Have you ever seen a cat sleep? I didn’t even know spines could bend that way. 

 
Contrast this to when you’ll be doing your mini routine. The focus and intensity you will have are completely different to a slouch - and that’s damn good! When you actually, consciously pay attention to what you’re doing, your body “listens”, your muscles actively are working and the “intensity” will be way more, which makes it enough to offset those long, passive positions.

 
The cool thing is that when you adopt a good routine and stick to it regularly, your resting posture will start to improve by itself, and, without realising it, throughout the day you’ll be more likely to bend and move more because your body learns that it likes it, you’ll have a spring in your step and probably get a promotion!!!

 

How to Get Started


I want to give you two example movements you can do in your morning routine before you leave, but the rest of the blog is also worth sticking out for extra learning about your imbalances and how your through habits might be causing them.

 

Hips: Clockwork Box Drill
Use your bed, your stairs, a chair – anything! Aim to get as deep into your front leg as you can while trying to extend the back leg as much as you can. Squeeze your butt intermittently in the positions and do both sides:

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Upper Back: Zenith Rotations
Rotate your spine and use your breath to create extra range, you’re used to sitting all clumped up all day so this movement will open your ribs and upper back and make your shoulders feel amazing:

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And if you want to know a super-secret tip! The zeniths you can even do while you’re doing the clockwork hip drill, like we do in the video at the top of the blog!

 

Hit the principles, and get creative!


These are just two examples of exercises, if you want to do you 5 minutes with just these two then do the hip drill for around 2 minutes per leg, then the zeniths for 30s per side. But, I work off principles, not specific exercises, so to counteract sitting, all you need are movements which cover:
 

Hip extension (opening your hip)

Hip flexion (closing your hip)

Thoracic extension (opening your upper back)
 

When you start your day with addressing these few things every day, life gets a whole lot better.
 

You don’t really realise how much you don’t move until you stop and think. Before I started training in general I pretty much NEVER sat into a squat or lunge, you could be talking years in between my infrequent gym bouts before I really cared about doing any of this stuff, but I just thought that being stiff & sore is how life is because no one ever taught me any different.

 
The more you do these routines you’ll start to develop your own little movements to start adding in but keep the principles in! You can get loads of ideas of different exercises to use from our YouTube channel, make sure to subscribe!

 

Now… for extra bonus credits take the Daily Habits Challenge!


 
What is wrong with these pictures? These are just normal things from throughout the day, should that cause any issues!?
 

Look more closely at the pictures, my left leg is always extended out when I’m sat down - would you do a deep glute stretch on just your left side for up to 10 minutes at a time, MULTIPLE times a day?
 

No? That doesn't make sense does it?
 

Well... that's what I am doing in each of those pictures and YOU might already be doing that!
 

Try this for me, in the back of your head just keep a low level of alertness. Try to catch yourself throughout the day when you're sitting, standing or lying down. What are your hips doing? Do you always default to one side? Try sitting the complete opposite way, does it feel really uncomfortable and unnatural to you?

 
If you want to be able to perform bilateral movements like squat and deadlifts safely, your body NEEDS to have some level of symmetry to it! Which is the foundation of The Simplistic Mobility Method. Add in some extra stretches or extra time on the tighter side and see if you can balance yourself out.
 

Everything you do influences how you move! You don't need to obsess about it or freak out but if you do notice something or you are experiencing pain then these are the things you need to check!
 

Want extra super duper bonus credits?

 
Get The Simplistic Mobility Method and learn exactly what I use to assess people and the things you should be able to do for a well functioning body!

READY TO GET STARTED?

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