Sitting down at our desks all day is wreaking havoc on our hips.
A lot of jobs these days require minimal movement and maximal sitting, and this can cause a whole host of postural and muscular problems. We’re all too aware of how hard sitting all day can be on our backs and the discomfort it causes in our necks. But one overlooked effect of spending the whole day sitting down is tight hips.
If we don’t pay attention to our hips, there could be serious long-term implications. Sitting down for long periods shortens our hip flexors and reduces mobility, and over time this has the potential to cause to significant issues elsewhere.
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The different areas of our bodies are so intricately connected that tightness in one area inevitably has a knock-on effect elsewhere. Since the hips sit at the base of the spine, muscular tightness here can contribute to back pain – whether you’re aware of the connection or not. Other problems caused by stiff hips include knee pain, tight glutes and tight hamstrings.
So to avoid racking up a long list of ailments stemming from a largely avoidable cause, try incorporating these hip stretches into your daily routine – whether you’re in the office or not.
Start by kneeling on the floor with the rest of your body straight. Then pick up your left leg and place your foot on the floor in front of you, so the leg forms a 90 degree angle. Once you’re in position, you can start to slowly move your torso and knee forwards, keeping your hips pushed slightly forwards and your buttocks tucked in underneath. Wait until you feel a slight stretch in your right hip and along your calf, and hold the position there for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
If you struggle to kneel, you can vary this stretch by lifting the back knee off the floor. In this variation, your back leg should be straight out behind you and off the ground.
For this pose you need to have good balance, so feel free to use a wall or chair if you need the extra support. From a standing position, bring your left heel up towards your glutes and hold it in your hand. Making sure to push the hips gently forwards, pull your foot towards your glute until you feel a stretch in your quads. This will help to release the hips and combat stiffness.
From a seated position, place the heel of your foot out in front of you, preferably on a footrest, box or low shelf. Flex the top of the foot, and then bend forwards at the hip until you feel a stretch down your leg. To increase the stretch, you can reach your hands down towards your flexed foot. Repeat this on both sides, or alternately you can do both legs at once.
Glute bridge dips
Start this stretch by lying on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and your arms down by your sides. Then tense your abdominal muscles and glutes to raise your buttocks off the floor, until they come into alignment with the rest of your body. Hold the pose for around 30 seconds, then lower yourself back to your starting position and repeat a few times. This will stretch out everything from your hips to your hamstrings, and help to strengthen your core.
Want to learn more stretches? Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram to watch as our certified trainers go over different stretches and their benefits every Friday on #StretchTheWeekOut. You can also learn more in the STRETCH highlight of our handle.
Image credit: Getty