The old adage “if you make that face too long it will stay like that” does hold some water when it comes to the human body as a whole. Staying in one position will do harm to several muscle groups and often cause health issues down the road. Office jobs, in particular, are rough on the body because they restrict the amount of movement done throughout the day. Many health issues stem from neglecting just one muscle, the Gluteus Maximus. Also referred to as the buttocks, the Gluteus Maximus should be the largest skeletal muscle in the body. A weak buttocks results in lower back pain, hip bursitis and pain during movements such as walking upstairs or walking.
The strength of the buttocks can be determined through sight and an easy exercise. Lacking bulk is a visual sign of atrophy for the buttocks. A healthy muscle will lend a convex curve to the body. If it is unclear whether the gluteus maximus is strong here is a simple test. Lay flat on the floor with both hands under the buttocks. Try to contract the buttocks muscles. The tenser they become the healthier they are. Lack in strong contractions is reason to worry.
Another test is called the ‘bridge’. Performing this simple exercise tests the stamina of the gluteus maximus. Find a flat surface to lie on your back. Place both feet squarely on the floor with knees bent upward. Attempt to lift the pelvis one foot from the ground by pushing with the feet. Hold this position for 10 seconds. If the hamstrings begin to cramp, the buttocks is weak. Due to the weakness of the buttocks, the hamstrings are over worked.
Strengthening this muscle will banish many of those workday pains, and making this muscle strong does not require an extra trip to the gym. Basic exercises with a gradual increase in repetition are important to a healthy exercise routine. Always consult a physician before adding to a prior set exercise regime. Begin with the simplest, which is called the buttocks squeeze. Perform this exercise right at the work desk without anyone knowing. Position the body so that the shoulders are over the hips and the back is straight but not rigid. Start by simply tightening the buttocks muscles and hold for five seconds then release. Build up repetition to 10 times in a row without fatigue before holding longer.
Of course, over all body strength does not come from one magical exercise. Dr. Baumstark and his physical therapy staff at PhysioDC, located in downtown Washington, D.C., are qualified to help build safe and effective regimes for overall health.