Sitting all day? These two simple and surprising stretches can help relieve your back pain and loosen the tight hips.
In fact, the few hours of exercise that most people accumulate each week do very little to counteract the negative effects of sitting all day long.
One of the areas that are affected most by prolonged sitting is the hip region. This critical body area will stiffen up if it isn’t lubricated through regular movement and exercise.
But not all hope is lost!
If you are committed to becoming more active and keeping your hips flexible, there are a few key stretches you should consider performing every day.
In this article, I’ll review two of my favorite hip stretches that are perfect for office workers and those who spend a lot of time seated.
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1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip is a complex joint that can move in many different directions. For this reason, one can experience tightness in many areas of the hips. However, the hip flexors are tight on almost everyone.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that serve to lift our leg up and forward (as their primary function). As you can probably picture, sitting in a chair forces our hips into this position. Therefore, prolonged sitting often leads to hip flexor tightness.
Performing the kneeling hip flexor stretch (also known as the lunging hip flexor stretch) may not target the exact area that’s tight on you. But if you shift your body slightly while you’re performing this stretch, you should be able to find a comfortable position that will work well for your needs!
How to Perform
- Using a mat, or a padded, soft surface, kneel on the floor with your right knee down and your left foot forward.
- Slowly, inch your left foot forward as far as you can while keeping your back straight.
- Lean your hips further forward to deepen the stretch, if you can.
- Once you’ve reached the end of your range of motion, hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 4 times on each side, 1-2 times per day.
2. Supine Piriformis Stretch
Much like the hip flexors, the piriformis is chronically tight in most people. This is especially true for office workers, who put this muscle in a vulnerable position all day long.
Worse yet, a tight piriformis can lead to other, more serious problems, such as sciatica. Loosening up this muscle can keep you from suffering from lower body weakness and pain associated with sciatica and sciatic nerve entrapment.
How to Perform
- Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your left leg over your right, placing your left ankle on your right thigh.
- Next, lift your right leg off of the ground, tucking your knee to your chest.
- As you do so, you’ll begin to feel a deep stretch in your left piriformis muscle.
- Grasp the back of your right thigh with both hands and pull yourself into a deeper stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each side.
- Complete this exercise 1-2 times per day.
Hip pain and dysfunction are pervasive in society today. But you don’t have to suffer any longer! By performing a few simple stretches for just a few minutes a day, you’ll begin to notice improvements in your hips.
- Ahuja, V., Thapa, D., Patial, S., Chander, A., & Ahuja, A. (2020). Chronic hip pain in adults: Current knowledge and future prospective. Journal of anaesthesiology, clinical pharmacology, 36(4), 450–457. https://doi.org/10.4103/joacp.JOACP_170_19