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Gluteal amnesia-what is it and what risks does it pose?

The buttocks are the largest and strongest muscle group in the human body. Apart from the visual aspect, they control many movements - walking uphill, getting up from a chair or picking something up from the floor - all these activities would be almost impossible without the work of glutes. Strong glutes can help prevent knee, hip and back injuries. Spending several hours in a sitting position makes the buttocks inactive and does not do any work, which can result in the title gluteal amnesia, or "atrophy" of the buttocks. Gluteal atrophy means loss of function of the buttocks, which is one of the postural stabilizers and helps relieve pressure on the spine and many joints. One thing to remember: the glutes stabilize the lower limbs and trunk, and the more stable the joint, the lower the risk of injury.

Sedentary work and its effect on the buttocks

Traveling to work in a car or transportation, several hours at a desk at work, and finally relaxing on the couch at home-all while sitting. Add to that the lack of physical activity and your buttocks become redundant. You may find that you spend even more than 8 hours a day in a sitting position. Unused muscles atrophy and lose their function, and as we mentioned above the function of the buttocks is important for the whole body. What happens in the hip area after many hours in a sitting position? In short, the muscles in the front of the body become overly tense, while those in the back are stretched and weakened. This makes them inactive. Firstly, their proper work is hindered by excessive stretching, and secondly, muscles in the front part of the body are too tense.

How can weak glutes affect the rest of the body?

Exercises that engage the glutes not only help keep these muscles working, but also strengthen the bones, which improves health. As we age, bones lose density and muscle mass atrophies, making us more susceptible to injury and pain.

A strong and symmetrical body is very important in injury prevention. If one muscle is weak, others will work harder. If the glutes are not working it means that the back and legs have to work harder. In this case, weak glutes change the mechanics of movement overtaxing the muscles in the area putting them at risk for overload and injury. Here are some examples:

  • Knees- Strong glutes help stabilize the knees during many movements in daily life. Among other things, a stable knee position means that the knees do not collapse inwards. If this happens, it carries a high risk of knee pain or even injuries such as ligament rupture.

  • Hips and back- weak glutes mean that the back takes up most of the load when performing daily activities. This strain on the spine can lead to lumbar pain or even herniation of the intervertebral discs commonly called discs.

How to deal with it?

To restore proper gluteal function it is important to get the right amount of exercise. The first step should be exercises that stretch the hip flexors located in the front part of the thigh. The second step should be exercises that activate and strengthen the gluteal muscles - lifting the hips while lying on the back or extending the leg sideways while standing or lying down. In addition, you should focus on stabilization and balance exercises, such as standing on one leg and trying to maintain balance. When exercising, focus on proper technique and posture control.

Active breaks

In an office work environment, it is important to remember to take breaks. For every hour spent sitting, take a 5 minute break to stretch your muscles and mobilize. It is worth getting up and taking a short walk. In the context of the buttocks, these few minutes can be used to stretch the front of the thigh by pulling the heel to the buttock. In addition, just tense the buttocks, whether in a sitting or standing position can also prove to be helpful. Such short breaks will help to stimulate the muscles and improve blood circulation in the body. The buttocks also work during movements such as squatting, climbing stairs or doing tricks and deadlifts, but it is important to remember that these exercises must be performed correctly technically.


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