Common Symptoms of a Sedentary Lifestyle and How to Fix Them
Have you been spending too much time hunched over your computer? Or maybe you used to hit the gym after work but have since swapped that habit with binge-watching TV shows and movies?
In any case, read on to learn about the most common symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle and practical steps you can take to resolve each.
Let’s dive in.
Tight Traps and Neck
A common symptom of a sedentary lifestyle is tightness in the traps and neck, resulting in aches and stiffness.
In addition, spending too much time in a static position causes the neck to move forward, which can put stress on the cervical vertebrae, increasing the risk of disc degeneration.
Two good ways to fix these issues are:
Stretching your traps and neck several times per day.
- Doing resistance exercises to strengthen these muscles, allowing them to improve your posture. One excellent activity is the shrug, where you grab a weight and repeatedly elevate your shoulder blades.
Tight hips are the second common symptom of a sedentary lifestyle. Spending too much time in a seated position causes the hip flexor muscles to shorten, resulting in:
- Pain when lifting your legs
- Uneven legs when standing tall
- Anterior pelvic tilt (when the pelvis rotates forward, causing a lower back arch)
The best way to alleviate hip tightness is by stretching the area. Here’s one stretch you can do:
- Lunge your right leg forward.
- Plant your rear (left) knee on the floor.
- Maintain an upright torso.
- Squeeze your left buttock and drive your left side forward until you feel a stretch above the thigh.
- Once finished, swap leg positions and repeat.
Weak Glutes and Legs
The third common and harmful side-effect of leading a sedentary lifestyle is weakness in the glutes and legs.
Weak glutes are incapable of supporting a proper pelvic position, contributing to anterior pelvic, which we mentioned above. Similarly, weak leg muscles impair your functionality and make everyday tasks, including climbing stairs and carrying groceries, more challenging.
The most practical way to strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, and calves is to follow a balanced workout plan. Fantastic exercises include:
- Barbell hip thrust
- Glute bridge
- Barbell squat
- Leg press
- Leg extensions
- Romanian deadlifts
- Leg curls
- Calf raises
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is the fourth common symptom of sedentary living, particularly in people who spend most of their time seated improperly.
Hunching over while seated causes anterior muscles like the pectoralis major to shorten, leading to poor posture. The risk of spinal compression increases, leading to premature degeneration and chronic pain.
Certain cases might require professional attention and specialized treatment, so it might be best to consult a doctor.
Still, beneficial tactics for improving lower back pain include:
- Following a structured exercise program
- Breaking up sedentary periods with movement––for example, get up every half an hour to stretch a bit and walk around your office
- Maintain a good sitting posture with an upright torso and retracted shoulder blades
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a whole host of health issues. The above are only four common physical issues resulting from a lack of physical activity.
We hope our recommendations have given you some ideas for boosting your activity level and potentially alleviating some of the above issues.