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Move it or lose it: How prolonged sitting impacts your backside


Fitness experts say we need to move our bodies as often as possible to avoid losing muscle strength but one University of Guelph professor believes it’s especially true for anyone who works at a desk all day.

"If you're sitting for long periods of time, you're not being as physically active as you would be," Steve Brown, an associate professor in the department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, said.

So what kind of impact can this have on your rear-end?

Brown said a lack of movement could cause those muscles to change.

“You're just simply not using those big hip extensor muscles as much in a new job where you're sitting for long periods of time, then certainly those muscles, in theory, could get smaller and change the shape of your butt,” Brown explained.

He said switching to a standing desk can help engage those muscles throughout the day, adding that people who do have to sit shouldn’t be afraid to change their position.

“There is no perfect posture to sit. So dynamic sitting is certainly better than static sitting.”

Brown’s number one tip is stepping away from the desk.

“Frequent breaks would mean getting up and moving, doing something different than sitting,” he explained.

“I like to recommend setting a timer,” said Sean Meagher, a registered physiotherapist and clinic manager at Depth Training and Physiotherapy. “Then, whether it's every hour or between meetings, just getting up and moving around.”

Meagher added that if you haven’t done much movement during the day, clenching your buttocks can help get the blood flowing. However doing it for too long can actually have a negative impact.

“If we walk around with our biceps flexed all day is not going to feel very nice either. So the more that we can move and put our body in different positions, the overall happier our joints are going to be,” Meagher explained.

There are more ways to strengthen the muscles beyond your workday.

At Move Strong KW in Kitchener, coaches focus on helping clients improve their strength and mobility. Owner Davor Cvijic said your glutes help with abductor and hip extension. Moving the hip back and out, plus adding weight for strength training resistance can help.

Davor Cvijic leads a class at Move Strong KW in Kitchener, Ont. on April 10, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

“Anything that works that hip extension or archetype,” urges Cvijic. “So step-ups and lunges and squats, anything in that direction will help.”

Cvijic said Move Strong KW focuses on staying active and not on physical attributes – like the shape of one’s posterior.

“It’s a nice side effect that people like as a result of restoring movement and proper function at the hip,” Cvijic added. “Plus, it's important because no one's ever written a rap song about having a small butt.” Top Stories

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