Humans are meant to move, but why? What would happen if we didn't stay active, didn't walk as often as we should, and spent all day sitting.
Some of you might know the answer to this already.
Could a Lack of Physical Activity Cause Aches and Pains?
What happens from spending too much time on your rear-end?
Well, one thing that could happen is your hip flexors shorten, and this causes tight hips. But the answer is— yes, yes, yes, yes! A lack of physical activity can cause aches and pains and a lot of them!
And because the body is all interconnected, developing tight hips from prolonged periods of sitting drastically impacts several other areas like your lower back, which may feel more compacted or achy because of the tightness in your hip flexors.
Also, if you struggle to stand up with ease or feel tightness in your neck, tight hip flexors could also be responsible for this. Furthermore, a study found men who sat for too long were more likely to gain weight around their mid-sections.
Does Sitting Make Your Rear Pancake Flat?
We bet you aren't expecting this one: when you spend too much time sitting, your butt shape changes. Yes, too much time spent on your behind can make your glutes as flat as pancakes. But it's not the force of the chair reshaping your rear.
Instead, it's because extended periods of sitting cause, yep, we already said it, causes tight hip flexors. (Who knew your hips could cause so many problems?)
When your hips are ergonomically out-of-whack, it makes your gluteus maximums muscle struggle to perform as it should. With these increased movement difficulties, your backside inevitably grows weaker, sags, and appears flat.
The Bottom Line?
Humans need to stay active. Sitting all day isn't natural for our physiology. Regular physical activity keeps our bones strong as we age; this could prevent brittle bones and broken hips. In addition, exercise is preventive, reducing excessive bone density loss as we age.
If losing bone density doesn't sound alarming to you, it should at least be a reason to stop sitting so much. "Half of the women over the age of 50 are going to experience an age-related bone fracture sometime in their lifetime," says Dan Krotz of Science at Berkley Lab.
Movement is also the easiest path to prevention and management for those genetically susceptible to developing type two diabetes. It may also reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular issues and improve poor respiratory health.
We Live in a Stressful World; Movement Improves Mental Health
If weight loss, or health prevention, isn't motivation enough to start moving more, then maybe your mental health is. Exercise might seem challenging. Heck, even taking a walk can seem taxing, but physical activity quite literally makes you happy by triggering the body to release those feel-good endorphins.
If you want to kick a bad mood instantly to the side, then add meditation to the mix. A study conducted in 2017 revealed that walking plus meditation is more effective than walking alone.
Together the two (meditation plus walking) banished symptoms of anxiety. In addition, the study showed there are multiple ways to intertwine meditation and walking. As an example, individuals can meditate "before or after walking" or (we ...and we love this one) you could try walking meditation.
Mindful walking takes you to all new planes, reconnecting you with the world around you, taking you out of your head, and increasing your sense of mental clarity.
If you want to learn more about walking meditation, read our article: What is Walking meditation, and Will it Make Me Like Meditating?