Society is enamored with appearance. Muscles, typically, are exercised in either of two ways. They are either subjected to routines that build them up (i.e. – body pump, machine workouts or supported lifting modalities) or they perform in response to running, cycling or various aerobic modalities. Although these modes of exercise do provide physiological benefit, they do not provide adequate stimulation, per se, for stabilization. The stabilizer muscles are like anchors. They hold the body in place to affect a more advantageous firing of the mobilizer muscles. The sedentary lifestyle has given license to ignoring the activation of the stabilizers. It becomes imperative, therefore, that activities include actions that place demands on the stabilizers: that is to say, all activities, standing, sitting, exercising, chores, etc must be performed with this idea in mind.
Exercise can provide long(er) lasting benefits when low intensity of gravity resistance habits are incorporated (?). Low gravity resistance activates the stabilizers muscles: higher gravity resistance activities, which are more reliant on the mobilizers, can circumvent the actions of the stabilizers. Exercise, presently, focuses on mobilizers and neglects the importance of stabilizers. This causes stabilizers to atrophy. If an injury were to occur to the mobilizers, the compromised stabilizers might not be conditioned (enough) to support the body. Modern sedentary lifestyles only complicate the situation. The consequence of this is instability of segments of the body, distorted movement patterns and potential lower back pain or possible injury from falls.
Stabilizers are meant to provide the stable basis from which mobilizers can work; thus, preventing wear and tear of the body. Standing still requires proper activation of the stabilizers. Giving attention to precise movement(s) will also target the stabilizers. Among the styles of exercise typically seen today, Yoga and Tai Chi — which, you will note, are ancient forms of activity — are the exceptions. They mainly target the stabilizers. Maintaining fitness of stabilizers by continuous low intensity activities forms the foundation of a healthy, active body. Acquiring all-day repetitive, sustained, low-intensity habits is nature’s way of maintaining a strong stabilizer base.
On one hand, exercise habits can be the undoing of the body. Strong mobilizers, in the absence of a stable base, operate in a vacuum. Making them stronger cannot supplant the need for a stable base. A firm base (the stabilizers) allows the mobilizers to function in their designed capacity and can accentuate various physiological processes. Even when sitting, the stabilizer muscles can be active regarding posture and core (muscle) activation. Sitting does not have to contribute to or be indicative of the decline of the stabilizer muscles.
Sitting can correlate to physiological shortcomings. Proper sitting can stimulate the actions of the upper body stabilizers and deep core musculature. However sitting leaves your leg muscles at rest, the Victoria, Australia Department of Health and Human Services at Victoria warns that prolonged sitting can elicit weakening of large leg and gluteal muscles. Extended periods of sitting also stress the hip flexors, causing them to shorten over time and leading to potential hip joint complications.
Excessive sitting has been shown to have deleterious effects on the body. First, it negates the benefits derived from exercise. Research conducted in England shows that each additional hour of sedentary time was associated with a 1.15% increase in liver fat independent of other levels of physical activity and of gender. In people who are physically inactive and sitting for a majority of the day, a 1-h bout of vigorous exercise failed to improve lipid, glucose, and insulin metabolism measured the next day. The day that consists of interspersed activities (i.e. standing up, stretching the spine, weight shifting / balancing) will help maintain the positive effects of exercise and serve to keep the tone of the stabilizer muscles.
The stabilizers are important for structural integrity of the body. Much like a building’s framework provides stability against external and internal forces. Society today is preoccupied with appearance of the physical body. The mobilizer muscles take precedence, for the sake of appearance, in most exercise regimens while the stabilizer muscles are, at best, marginally addressed. A maintained stabilizer system will help to sustain bodily integrity in the case of injury to the mobilizer muscles. Excessive sitting can compound the weakness of the stabilizers. The combination of weak stabilizers and excessive sitting can contribute to physiological complications. Sitting with good posture and working on maintaining a strong stabilizer system can be very beneficial to the longevity of the body.