Bubblebutt or “thutt”? The office-effect and how to curb it!

Written by Nick L. O. Pfeffer B.EX CEPS (bio at bottom of post)

Thutts galore!

I know many of you are in my shoes; you spend hours on end in sedentary jobs, and you find it hard to keep your motivation and energy up to hit the gym after a long day at work. We all feel that way from time to time.

The trouble is, a sedentary lifestyle can cause far bigger problems that a rounded waist, and the now-famous “thutt” (rather unattractive butt-meets-thigh physique arising from the all too familiar office lifestyle). Not only does lack of movement put you at far greater risk of developing serious lifestyle related illnesses in the long run; but in the short run you can and will struggle with issues relating to shortening of muscle tissue, posture problems and a chain reaction of pain throughout your body.

Did you know that even using your smartphone can cause great damage to your posture? 

The shocking facts

The Australian Bureau of Statistics say that “Managers and professionals spend an average of 22-23 hours per week sitting”, adding that the average Australian spends 13 hours a week watching TV. After getting up-close and personal with the Gold Coast-Brisbane commute, I can only imagine the time an average Aussie spends in a car!

The Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US found that over half of the average American’s leisure time was spent watching TV (source), which equates to a whopping 9,1 years of their lives! In addition, average Americans drives a car for 4,1 years of their lives, spend 70% of their waking life in front of digital media, 90% of their time indoors, and American office workers spend 5 years of their lives sitting at their desk (source).

Brits are no better, with a whopping 14,39 hours a day spent sitting down, according to The Telegraph (May 2010).

With numbers like these, there’s no wonder we are feeling the repercussions!

What about you? Do you feel a dull ache in your forearm after a long day at work, or that tingling nerve pain in your hand when you type? Is your neck stiff or your lower back sore? Do you get headaches? These are all symptoms of an office lifestyle, and I will help you combat the cause of your woes in a simple but effective way, if you stick with me for the next few weeks!

Finding that groove

As I’m writing this it’s 15:49, and as I gaze out of the window the sun has already set, the leaves are falling and I know I will be stuck in front of the computer screen for at least 3 or 4 more hours.

Yes Autumn is beautiful, but the short days are tough! To make things worse I am constantly confronted by photo uploads and stories of beach weekends away from friends and family back in Australia.

I am from here…

And now I live here…

Yes, the English country side is pretty. However after all day stuck in an operating theatre or cath lab (typically hidden in the subterranean basements of England’s old hospitals) it is quite a shock to the Aussie spirit to start work in the dark and leave in the dark. Nearly every Englishman and woman I meet think I may have one or two screws loose; How can I leave behind the sunny Gold Coast to fight with the temperamental English weather?

Well, as much as I miss sunny Australia, I also love the changing of the seasons, the idea of a white Christmas, and not least the prospect of skiing! The trade-off of course is the energy you get from long sunny days, and as the days get shorter the thing I find most difficult is to get the motivation to exercise before and/or after work. In a matter of one week I went from running to the CrossFit box in shorts and a t-shirt to last night rugged up with 4 layers on the top half and winter skins on the bottom!

The pre-work out warm up was exactly that, or closer to a defrost!

Let’s face it; we can all use a bit of help with finding our workout groove every now and again.

How to keep that summery motivation all year long

So what happens when the long day at work doesn’t permit a workout, or the thought of braving the cold weather is just too much?

We’ve got just the trick! Stay tuned this November (aka Movember) as I walk you through some simple yet super effective exercises here on The Gluten Free Lifesaver, including stretches and healthy living practices, to keep you fit and alert! Nothing complicated, just the right elements to balance out the damage caused by your office chair, sofa or computer.

Stick with me in the next few weeks, and I promise you’ll feel the sunshine on the inside even if it’s not in the sky! And if you need some extra motivation; check out the results from this meta-analysis published in the Diabetologica Journal. The group looked at the association of sedentary time with diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. Unsurprisingly, the systematic review of 18 studies clearly showed that sedentary time is associated with increased risk of diabetes, CVD and all-cause mortality.

Your Professional & Free easy-to-follow plan!

Each week in November and December I will publish a suggested health focus for the working week right here on The Gluten Free Lifesaver. From simple stretches while watching your favourite TV show and nursing a warm cup of tea, to at-your-desk stretches; I’ll will be there with you throughout the colder months! And if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a sunny location; there’s no time like the present to start improving your physical health!

Coming up on Monday the 17th of November we will look at how to schedule breaks from your desk, and most importantly how to make the most of these short breaks. The week after: foam rolling can ease the pain of sedentary desk work.

Sign up to follow the blog via email to get my workout plans
directly to your inbox each week!

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