Maybe I actually should have titled this, “Don’t HAVE a Lazy Ass” because this isn’t going to be my usual cheerleading for a healthy, active lifestyle, led by yoga. Instead, I’m going to talk about butts. In particular, lazy butts.
Why? Because one of the biggest problems we have as a culture of sitters is an epidemic of lazy asses. More properly, we have a very high incidence of gluteal amnesia (dead butt syndrome).
Gluteal amnesia is not forgetting your about butt. I mean, wherever you go, there it is, following right behind you. Gluteal amnesia is your butt forgetting how to do its job. One of my Pilates teachers likes to say that the glutes are the biggest, and laziest muscles in the body. If you give them any excuse to skip work, they will.
In reality, of course, your muscles don’t have memory. However, when you sit for too long (you know, like for 8 hrs a day at work?), your gluteal muscles are left unused. Then your hip flexors tend to tighten (which signals your glutes to relax) so your body “forgets” how to activate them. This is a serious problem for a number of reasons.
Gluteal amnesia increases your risk of:
- Postural problems, especially anterior pelvic tilt
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Knee and ankle issues
- Sports injuries
- Back injuries, particularly lumbar injuries
That last one is especially bad. Lumbar injuries are extremely painful, and the process of recovery is long and difficult. I learned this the hard way. Anyway, low back injuries commonly occur when we lift using the small muscles of the back, rather than the large muscles of the legs and butt. Gluteal amnesia results in your big muscles (glutes) taking the day off and forcing your back to pick up the slack.
So what do you do about it? Short answer, get off your lazy butt, and get your lazy butt to work.
And now we get to the part where I cheer-lead an active lifestyle, led by yoga.
I previously wrote how I gained 10 lbs in a year of Bikram Yoga. That weight gain was almost exclusively below the belt. In fact, I had to get rid of most of my pants because the thighs and butts got too tight. Yoga that includes a large number of standing postures (such as Bikram yoga) works the legs and butt. In fact, it has a couple of postures which specifically target the legs and butt.
Other manly exercises like Pilates (as for myself, I’m quite fond of Inferno Hot Pilates) directly target the glutes, specifically because they’re “the biggest and laziest muscles in the body,” to wake them up and work them out.
If you’re not into the manly yoga/Pilates training, I suppose you could get to the weight room and do squats, but the key is don’t be a lazy ass, and don’t have a lazy ass. Don’t sit still down all day. Get up and move, and get your lazy butt to the gym, and get your lazy butt working.
Cross posted at Medium.com.