You've probably heard about the health problems associated with sitting on your butt for long periods of time.
From heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even colon cancer, it's a medical fact that a sedentary lifestyle — whether it's sitting on your chair all day at your day job or binge-watching Netflix on the weekend — is bad for your health.
But there's another health risk you may not know about: gluteal amnesia, commonly known as dead butt syndrome, which happens when the gluteus medius, a muscle located in the butt, "forgets" how to work properly because it isn't used frequently.
"When you sit a lot, the hip flexor gets shortened and tighter, which leads to the butt muscles not firing or working as optimally as they should," Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Self.
When your hip flexor stays in this shape for a long period of time, your gluteal muscles become lengthened and desensitized, making them unable to generate a good amount of force when you try to use them.
This can result in pain in your lower back or hips, or cause problems with your knees and ankles. It can also lead to stress in other muscles, which can be hard to detect.
"Prolonged sitting can also create a 'laminating effect' between the muscle fibres, in which the continual compression of the tissue causes them to get tacked down, losing their elasticity and ability to contract optimally," Kolba explained.
If you're worried you have dead butt syndrome, your physician can do a physical exam to determine if you do, but, according to CafeMom, you can also figure it out yourself. The site suggests standing up with a belt on and "if the belt drops toward the front and isn't parallel to the floor, it could mean you have an anterior pelvic tilt caused by uncontracted glutes."
Fortunately, there are simple exercises that will combat dead butt syndrome, such as karate kicks, dinner plate circles, wide jump squats, and on-the-ball triangle extensions.
If you're at work, the Mayo Clinic recommends standing while talking on the phone, getting up to walk every half hour and using a standing desk.
The most important point to take away from this is to keep moving. Whether it's taking a break to walk around the office at regular intervals or watching just one episode of "Riverdale" instead of five, your body (especially that cute tush) will thank you.
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