In the Fall of 2003, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges blessed us with the hit single "Stand Up". The song took the world by storm, racing #1 on the Billboard charts, earning Luda a Grammy nomination, and spawning one of the greatest music videos of all time.
On the surface, "Stand Up" is just another club anthem created solely to get bodies out on the dance floor, but dig a little deeper and you'll find that it's much, much more.
In today's society, a sedentary lifestyle is widely accepted and seen as "normal". The average person spends 9.3 hours per day sitting. Whether driving a car, watching TV, or typing on a computer, the great majority of our lives are now spent sitting.
And it's killing us.
I believe that Luda, a prophet wise beyond his years, was trying to warn us of this grave danger. "Stand Up" is not merely song, it's a call to action.
Follow me as I explore the lyrics to this classic, and uncover the truth behind the words.
"Watch out for the medallion my diamonds are reckless/Feels like a MIDGET is hanging from my necklace"
On the surface, that sounds like a metaphor for a large and expensive chain. You know what it sounds like to me?
Lower back pain.
Sitting for an extended period of time causes tight hip flexors and inactive glutes, ultimately leading to lower back pain. Some believe that hip flexors even shorten after long stints of inactivity.
Tight hips are often the underlying cause for poor posture and mobility, and limit performance in key exercises such as squatting and sprinting.
"Go on wit' ya BIG ASS let me see something/Tell ya little friend he can quit mean mugging"
I can only assume that the "big ass" Luda mentions here refers to the behind of an overweight woman. And I can only assume her weight issues are caused by her sedentary lifestyle.
That's a little thing called context clues.
Studies have shown a direct correlation between sitting for extended periods of time and obesity. In fact, obese people sit for an average of 2.5 hours more than the average person.
In addition to obesity, a slew of other health concerns are associated with a sedentary lifestyle including:
- Increased blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Slower metabolism
- Increased risk for heart disease
- Increased risk for diabetes
"When I MOVE, you MOVE (Just like that)"
Just like that?
Just like that.
It was getting pretty ominous there for a bit, but thankfully Luda provides us with a means of alleviating some of the hazards of sitting all day:
Movement-any movement at all-is the key to mitigating the ill-effects of sitting. However, you can't just rely on your workout to take care of all your problems. Studies have shown that the recommended 30 minutes of activity per day is NOT ENOUGH to reverse the effects of sitting for 8+ hours a day.
Instead, you must break up sitting with short bouts of movement whenever possible. The recommended ratio is 5 minutes of activity for every 30 minutes of inactivity.
Here are some ways I get out of my chair throughout the day:
- Use the app "Stand Up!" and set alerts every 30 minutes-1 hour to remind you to take a break from your computer
- Take a lap around the office every time you get water or go to the bathroom
- Use the stairs
- Walk to co-workers' desks to get information rather than call
"I pulled up with a million trucks/Lookin', smellin', FEELIN' LIKE A MILLION BUCKS"
Luda's feeling good.
Luda must be doing his stretches.
Stretching is extremely important for loosening the muscles, joints, and ligaments that are tightened while sitting. Most people want to hop under the bar as soon as they hit the gym, and get in the car as soon as they finish their last set (GUILTY), but stretching before and after a workout (or anytime during the day) is crucial for long term health and longevity.
Here is a great list of stretches that I've started to incorporate into my daily (ok...almost daily) routine.
My personal favorite is the Couch Stretch, which is an absolute MUST for anyone who sits behind a desk all day.
"STAND UP (4x)"
Luda's not beating around the bush.
He wants you to stand.
If you work in a corporate environment, ask for a standing desk. Personally, I use a Varidesk and it's been extremely helpful. If a standing desk isn't an option, make it a habit to stand during routine tasks such as phone calls.
Anything you can do to avoid sitting for extended periods of time will greatly benefit your physique and your overall health.
Thank you, Ludacris, for drawing attention to this issue that affects so many of us. Sitting is a silent killer. It has serious health ramifications that go unnoticed everyday.
Let's all be like Ludacris.
Let's all stand up.