Sitting is a Pain in the Ass (and Hip)
I went out for a run a couple of weeks ago, and felt some serious pain in my hip right over my iliac crest. Weird. It actually hurt enough that I took 2 full weeks off of running (other activity didn’t seem to bother it, thankfully).
I did a lot of stretching—specifically, yoga for runners. The pain didn’t go away, but it felt better.
I went out for a run again 2 weeks later—same pain, same place.
In all my years of fairly consistent running, I have never had an injury. I am careful. I run mostly on dirt or gravel. I don’t run every day. I listen to my body.
What, then, was going on?
Time to do a little research…
I ran (pun intended) across this article about a guy who had been a competitive endurance runner who suddenly developed pain in his hip while out on an easy run.
He did his own investigating and found out that his tensor fasciae latae (TFL), a small muscle that assists in flexing and abducting the thigh, was shortened due to sitting so much over the past 5 years at his sedentary job.
Wow. As a therapist, I have one of the most sedentary jobs EVER and I have been doing it full-time for about 5 years. Prior to that I had mostly held fairly active jobs—personal trainer, restaurant manager, bartender, etc.
I tried the stretch recommended in the article and it exactly targeted the area of tenseness and tightness in my hip.
So, here’s the “a-ha”…everyone talks about running being so hard on your body, BUT sitting is actually WORSE.
My pain wasn’t cause by running (although running exacerbated the pain), it was caused by sitting too much and too long.
And guys, I am a super active person outside of work. However, very few of us—myself included—move our bodies for 8 hours per day, yet many of us sit for that long.
In my last blog post I wrote about how we need to exercise because we don’t need to move much in our regular sedentary lifestyle.
We need to move deliberately and frequently to offset all the sitting that the vast majority of us do.
You’ve probably heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking”…
Well, chances are you think smoking is *gross*, but as little as 12 years ago (in Washington state) smoking was accommodated in restaurants, bars, airports, etc.
Now we are tolerant of prolonged sitting. It is considered normal. At many workplaces it is expected. It’s time to start thinking in terms of the *grossness* of sitting for long periods of time.
It is a health hazard and it’s simply not good for your body (or mine!).
Does your job keep you on your ass all day? Are you concerned about the negative repercussions of so much sitting? I’d love for you to comment here.
Here are a few changes I will be making to my routine STAT:
Stretching between therapy clients
Not sitting with my legs crossed—I only cross right over left and it has created an imbalance
I can’t really stand when I’m doing therapy, but I can stand while writing and even eating (we have a counter in our kitchen that is standing-desk height)
Generally just be more aware of how much sitting I do and try to do less of it