Health

If You Spend Most Of Your Day Sitting Down, You Need To Be Aware Of This Weird Health Risk

June 9th 2017

By:
Almie Rose

Where were you when you learned your butt could die?

In all seriousness, there is a term for such an occurrence — and it's a real health issue many Americans may not realize they're at risk of developing.

It's called "gluteal amnesia," also known as "dead butt syndrome."

You've probably heard if you're planning to sit down for hours (like at a desk job or on an airplane) you should get up and stretch. This isn't only in an effort to minimize the risk of blood clots or weight gain. It's to strengthen your butt's muscle memory.

Chris Kolba, Ph.D., C.S.C.S, explained to Self exactly what happens. "When you sit a lot, the hip flexor ​gets ​shortened and tighter​, which leads to the butt muscles not firing or working as optimally as they should."

So basically, if you spend a lot of time on your butt, your butt forgets how to operate from muscle memory, and instead, you rely on your back to help. CNN reports this can lead to " lower back pain and hip pain, as well as knee and ankle issues, as the body tries to compensate for the imbalance."

"I see the injury all the time in varying degrees," Chiropractor Andrew Bang, of the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute, told CNN.

Americans spend way too much time sitting at desks.

ABC News reported on May 1 that "Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. More than the English, more than the French, way more than the Germans or Norwegians. Even, recently, more than the Japanese. And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later, too."

Not only do we spend the majority of our day sitting at a desk, but most of us drive to work or take some form of public transportation — which means more sitting.

The Brookings Institute reported in 2013 that a whopping ninety percent of Americans drive to work. Some of us have long commutes. RIP butts.

There are simple things you can do to work your gluteal muscles daily — even at work.

All you have to do is get up from your desk to stretch or take a short walk. Physical therapist Kristen Schuyten recommends to CNN setting multiple alarms on your phone to remind yourself to get up for a break. The Mayo Clinic points out that proper posture is also key.

Sara Lewis, personal trainer and founder of XO Fitness told Self "you can treat dead butt syndrome outside the gym, too" and recommended this simple move: "Stand tall, and tuck your tailbone and flex your glutes as hard as you can for five counts. Release, then repeat 10 times."

If you work out, spend some time on gluteal exercises, like squats and lunges.

Sure, you may feel silly doing these in your office break room or parking lot, but you'd likely feel sillier asking for a sick day to treat your dead butt.