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Woman sitting Too long has pain and stiffness

Take A Stand! 3 Quick Tips to Reduce the Negative Effects of Sitting

behavioralchange fitnessmotivation fitnesstips habitchange May 31, 2021

Did you know that only 20% of American adults get the recommended amount of physical activity every week? Really, just 20%.


With last year’s lock-down and more people working from home (even now), I’m wondering if that number is still accurate? 


Working from home, Netflix binges and rabbit hole-inducing social media scrolling … we sit and we sit some more. I’m sure you’ve seen the warnings on the effects of sitting for extended periods of time. 


Even if you do a 30-minute workout every morning (you are, right?), if you spend the next several hours a day sitting, your results can be undermined. 


We’re built to stand. Our hearts and digestive system work more effectively that way. Sitting for long periods can lead to weak leg and glute muscles (dead butt syndrome is a thing!) and overly tight hip flexors -- resulting in low back pain, tightness, poor posture and muscle imbalances.


Prolonged sitting also raises our risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, varicose veins, and stiff necks and shoulders. Moving more throughout the day can significantly help lower your risk of these health problems. 


Try these 3 Quick Tips to Lessen the Negative Effects of Sitting:

1. Sit Tall In Your Saddle

When you’re on a chair, try sitting on your “sits bones” - the two boney knobs under the flesh of the butt at the base of your pelvis. How to find them:

  • Sit at the front of your chair, feet on the floor. To find a neutral pelvis, slowly rock back and forth, making the movement smaller and smaller until you’re balanced in the middle. Think of your pelvis like a bowl of water -- the water should be level, not spilling forward or behind you. 
  • Stack your ears over shoulders and hips and slightly engage your core. This helps support the spine and lessen tension in your neck, shoulders and back.  

2. Let’s Get Vertical 

If you sit for long periods, create cues that prompt you to move. When I’m in hyperfocus work mode, my apple watch alerts remind me to get up and move. 

Follow this 50/10 Rule: For every 50 minutes you sit, stand for 10 minutes. Find a reason to get up - walk to the mailbox, refill your water bottle, take a walk as you make a phone call, do a few stretches or even a quick burst of exercise. As an added bonus, you’re giving your eyes (and your brain!) a break from your computer screen.

3. Toilet Train - Umm What?!?

Create a “stackable habit” (I’ll do a whole post on this later). -- it’s simply adding a new behavior on top of a current habit. 

  • Every time you go to the bathroom, do 10 air squats over the toilet or tub … hence the goofy term “toilet training”. This will help to activate and wake up those sleepy glutes! Just make sure to have proper form, as always! 


Standing is the new avocado toast (I just made that up)! 





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