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What sitting down all day does to your bum

We all love a good sit-down. But the sheer amount of time we spend sitting – whether it’s for working or for watching Friends reruns – is causing problems for our behinds.

Apparently, we spend nine hours a day on our bums, which can cause some serious health implications.

You might have noticed that when standing up after sitting for long, your bum feels a little sore. Or even a little flat?

Well, you’re not imagining it. Dr Saleena Zimri, an aesthetician, says so much time on our bums impact the rest of our bodies.

She explained: ‘Since your glutes impact your hip movement, pelvis rotation, and pelvic stability, what’s bad for your bum is actually bad for your entire body.

‘An inactive glute tightens hip flexors and curves the spine, throwing off posture and causing back pain. This can, in turn, impact your knees and ankles, as your big muscle (the bum) isn’t pulling its weight, so the pressure and force relocates to these weaker spots’.

If you’re not activating your gluteus muscles regularly, by taking regular standing or walking breaks, they’ll get weaker.

Dr Zimri explains that this is called muscle atrophy, which ‘will not only make squats feel way harder than they used to, but also undoes any hard work you’ve done to build a strong, sturdy behind.’

Years of sitting can also potentially change the shape of your bum over time, especially if you go from an active job to a desk job that involves lots of sitting.

‘An anterior pelvic tilt (tight hip flexors) can make your bum appear flatter. The quality of the skin on your bum can also suffer when you’re not getting your blood pumping to the area enough,’ she says. ‘Cellulite can form because of lack of blood flow at skin level, which causes loss of collagen. Whilst it’s far from the sole cause, it can certainly contribute.’

This, mixed with our love – bordering on obsession – with the Kardashians, might explain why clinics have seen more than a 50% increase of BBL procedures compared to five years ago.

But going under the knife won’t solve any of the physical problems brought on by too much sitting. Instead, there are plenty of safer, less expensive and less invasive methods.

Adjust your posture 

If you need to work sitting down a lot, you can adjust your chair so your hips are slightly above your knees, feet resting flat on the floor. Dr Zimri says to make sure your lower back is supported, either by a sturdy chair back, or a pillow.

‘Keep shoulders relaxed, but upright, and head directly over the shoulders. Your computer screen should be eye level or slightly below. If it’s too low, your head will bend forward. Elbows should be about table height, and make sure you’re close enough to your desk that you’re not reaching for the keyboard,’ she advises. 

Utilise exercise 

No one likes to hear ‘exercise more’ as the answer to anything, but it’s true. Along with all the other great mental and physical health benefits exercise offers, it can also help with your bum.

Dr Zimri says regular workouts can counteract all the time your bum sits there doing nothing. ‘As long as you’re activating those glutes outside your day job, you don’t really need to worry,’ she adds.

‘Pilates can strengthen your core and improve your posture, and any workouts that target your hips and glutes will obviously work wonders. You can also just do some glute squeezes in your seat, activating the glutes by just squeezing them together.’

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