I had a client recently say that their hips were hurting and felt tight, they told me that they had been sitting at their desk for a long period of time and doing a lot more driving. I explained that sitting for a long period of time is 1 of the most common causes of hip pain.
Sitting for a long period of time causes the glutes to be inactive and cause the quads and hip flexors to become tight. There is no scientific evidence of this, but it has been argued that sitting for long periods at a time physically shortens the hip flexors.
Therefore, it is so important to make sure that you take regular breaks from sitting and do some simple stretches that will prevent tight hips and prevent long term damage. Tight hips will have a knock-on effect on the lower back and glutes. So, if you have pain here you may also have tight hips, so these stretches are aimed at you too!
There are a few things you can do that will help you to reduce the tightness in the hips. One is to try and stand more during the working day, if there are standing desks in your office then try and use them for a couple of hours a day. It is a great way to break up the sitting pattern. If you do not have a standing desk area, then at least try and stand up throughout the day. For every 60minutes of work try and stand for 10.
The most effective is to do regular hip stretches, if you can do them during your breaks then that is perfect, if not then at least get them in before or after work.
- Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Kneel on one leg, the other in front of you make sure you knee is at 90 degrees to your foot. Drive your hip forward and your knee into the ground. Your iliopsoas muscle (one of the hip flexors) requires isometric activation to stretch it.
- Runners lunge stretch
If you cannot kneel then an adapted stretch is to position yourself as if you are about to start you race, lift the back knee off the floor. It is like a lunge but with a straight back leg (picture of how to do this stretch or see the image at the top of the blog)
- Modified Camel Hip Stretch
Put both hands on your lower back and lean back, push your hips forward and look up to the sky.
- Standing Quad Stretch
If you cannot balance very well then use a wall or chair for support. Lift your heel up towards your glutes (bottom) and hold the foot in your hand. To increase the stretch, push your hip forward.
Foam rolling your quads, ITB and TFL is another brilliant way to help with releasing the hips. Monthly massage is another brilliant way to help prevent tension, massage focusing on the hip flexors, quads, ITB and glutes will help to improve flexibility and reduce tightness in the hips.
All of these stretches will be featured on my instagram @mollysportsmassage over the next few days