Physical Fitness & Strength for Office Workers

Most of us are confined to our desk jobs for long hours, five to six days a week. If we live far away from our offices, the traffic keeps us more sedentary.

This makes me wonder…

1. How dangerous is sitting for prolonged hours, in regards to our health? (e.g. muscle atrophy)

2. If I workout 30 mins – 60 mins daily (cardio + resistance training), will sitting the rest of the day “undo” the health benefits of the workout?

3. What are practical ways to combat sitting all day in the office? (without making your co-workers think you’ve gone crazy.)

Answer

These are some great questions ! They are all connected and yes there is much you can do to make sure your body is performing good even after sitting for so long. Remember, as the human species, we were not meant to sit long hours staring at digital screens. We have come a long way from ur hunter-gatherer ancestors who undoubtedly had better health physically and mentally. Your can harness the power of exercise to keep fit and performing your best.

1. How dangerous is sitting for prolonged hours, in regards to our health? (e.g. muscle atrophy)

Muscle wouldn’t atrophy due to long hours of sitting, but your flexors and deep muscle fibres do tend to shorten and loose their range of mobility. The first and foremost area of weakness from sitting is in the hips. We have flexors in the hips that shorten because of lack of mobility, exercise and proper movement. This also causes the hamstrings ( the back of your thighs) to shorten. This can and does cause poor mobility issues with all joints connected to your hips i.e. your whole body. 

Important to understand that, your hips and lower back encase your core. Your core is made up of abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscle and lower back muscles. These 3 groups of muscles make your center a super important and strong place that houses your second brain – your gut ! So anything not making your core stronger is undoubtedly, making you weaker. 

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Shortened flexors are a major cause in age related joint and muscle pain and injury. Especially for women post pregnancy, working on lengthening flexors and proper muscle mobility crucial to ageing healthy and preventing age related issues. 
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shortened and tight hamstrings also need to tilting of the hips and successive hip issues. 

Sitting not only shortened muscles and flexors, bad posture of sitting will cause the following:
1. Pressure on your stomach / gut
2. Pressure on wrong areas of your spine
3. Muscle imbalance
4. Hormone imbalances due to the poor posture

5. Reduce brain function due to lower blood flow, nutrient absorption

and so on…

So, sitting for  long periods without movement isn’t only dangerous, it has some major affects on your body that work like a chain reaction.

2. If I workout 30 mins – 60 mins daily (cardio + resistance training), will sitting the rest of the day “undo” the health benefits of the workout?

Off-course, all is not lost. There are better ways to sit, and movement around and include movement in your lifestyle. 

30-60 mins of exercise is excellent, and if you work 5 to 6 days a week then you should exercise 5 to 6 days a week also. Here is a good blue-print to follow for planning your workout routine. Try this:

20 mins of HIIT

followed by

45 min of Weight Training

You can undue the dangers or sitting and leading a sedentary lifestyle. But this should be looked as making proper lifestyle changes instead of a crash course into dieting. Strength training and functional fitness is part of your lifestyle if you want to turn back the clock and optimise your DNA

3. What are practical ways to combat sitting all day in the office? (without making your co-workers think you’ve gone crazy.)

Yes ! This has alot to do with how you train after office. For exercise and functional training, you must focus on the following which will in several ways keep your body fit and strong:

  1. Core muscle mobility : abdominal muscles, lower back, pelvic floor. No I don’t mean do abs! Doing abs is a very useless way to engage core strength. Instead do stomach vacuums and Kegel’s and practice holding your core tight. 
  2. Compound movements: squat and deadlift ladies ! These 2 compound movement done correctly will change your body shape, metabolism and central nervous system response. Yes, I mean it will change you completely !
  3. When siting at the office, hold the correct posture of sitting. Hold your core tight, shoulders back and chest out. Don’t round your back !

Last but not least: Nutrition

Food is the raw materials your body needs to thrive and flourish. Sitting at the desk is not as hazardous as you feeding your body nutritiously void junk food that is fake food. Best idea, is to get an analyses of your current and previous health and start a nutrition programme that is best for you.  

Keep in mind, you will also need to take proper supplements because the food is no longer rich in vitamins and minerals and lack many micro-nutrient components. 

Oh, and one more thing. If sitting at the desk is causing you all this trouble then quit, chase your dreams and start your own business. It’s hard at first but worth it and you will be your own boss 😉 

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