When working, schooling, and relaxing at home, we tend to sit down a lot. What you may not know is that sitting is one of the number one contributors to tight hips. You may not be a yogi, but you should know that tight hips contribute to many health problems.
This article explores the causes of tight hips, and how we can prevent them!
How Sitting Can Cause Injury
Generally, sitting at a desk or on a couch seems like a pretty low-risk activity.
Unfortunately, sitting or standing in one position for extended periods of time is never good on the body. When we sit, our hip flexors shorten, which contributes to tightness and lost elasticity. This means that the longer we sit, the more hip flexibility we lose.
On top of dealing with tight hips, lost flexibility contributes to back, knee, and hip pain. Moreover, inflexible hips greatly increases the risk of injury!
From an anatomical view, the hip girdle (pelvic area) is VERY complex. It is also recently (in geological terms) evolved. 7 million years ago, our first primate ancestor began to walk on two feet. This trait is still relatively new and is unaccustomed to sitting for extended periods of time. In short, it is unnatural for humans to sit for hours a day.
When we do so, our body suffers.
Stretches & Exercises For Tight Hips
Luckily, we don’t have to compromise our sitting time entirely.
While it is important to get up and move throughout the day, and standing desks are being designed to counteract the effects of chronic sitting, I have taken the liberty to list some of my favorite stretches for you here!
- The pigeon stretch:
Full disclosure: I like this one because of its name.
Pigeon pose is a common yoga pose and is instrumental in improving the flexibility of our hip flexors.
- The butterfly stretch:
The butterfly stretch is one we learn as early as kindergarten! In a seated position, you touch the soles of your feet together, and draw them in towards your body.
This pose is excellent for stretching our inner thighs!
- Supine piriformis stretch:
Now this is my absolute favorite stretch for when my hips are getting tight!
Lying on your back, bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground. Then, cross your right ankle over your left leg, and grab behind your left knee. Guide your legs towards your chest, and then repeat on the other side!
Tight Hips & Tight Schedules
At the end of the day, stretching is a good thing to incorporate into your fitness and wellness schedule. But stretching your hips is a must, even if only in the 5 minutes before bed or when you wake up.
Your back, hips, and knees will thank you in the long run!
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