Do you spend your days deep in study, finding solutions to big problems and analyzing the data?
Or maybe your time is spent in joyful pursuit of creating colors, textures or stories?
It doesn’t matter why you sit a good portion of your day. The effects on your body are the same: tight hip muscles from a body in constant flexion.
The seated posture isn’t our natural state. We really aren’t that far away from a time when we spent our days moving out of necessity. I know the “Little House on the Prairie” life seems like another world but I remember my great-grandmother’s hand powered washing “machine”. She worked a huge garden and walked most places because she never learned to drive. She never “worked out” a day in her 103 year life because she spent her days in motion.
I am no in way suggesting we give up our modern conveniences but we have to find ways to move more throughout our day. The best things we can do for our body are move naturally throughout the day and take regular movement breaks. Standing up and walking around for about 5 minutes every hour is a good start. Adding in a few squats or forward folds is great too.
Desk Stretches For Tight Hips
You can also add some desk stretches for tight hip muscles, especially if you can’t get up from your desk as much as you would like. If you’re stuck in your seat on a conference calls, travel regularly on long flights or need to stay seated for any reason, here’s a 4-part seated stretch plan for tight hip muscles. Use it during your day no matter where you have to be seated.
- Step 1. Sit tall in your chair. Cross your right leg over you left, with the right ankle resting over the left knee. Place your right hand on your right knee and your left hand on the right ankle. With a straight back, hinge forward from your hips until you feel the stretching sensation (not pain!) in your right hip and low back.
- Step 2. Return to your tall sitting posture. Gently press the right knee down with the right hand, again looking for the stretching sensation. It will feel slightly different than step 1 because we are hitting the muscle from a different angle.
- Step 3. Keep your right arm straight and gently press down your right knee. Keep your left hand on your right ankle and slowly turn to your left. Your left arm will bend at bit but keep the right arm straight. Again look for a slightly different stretching sensation in your right hip.
- Step 4. Relax your arms and then grab your right knee with your left hand. Gently pull the knee up and towards the left side of the body while twisting your torso to the right. Once again, you’ll feel the stretching sensation in a different way.
This sequence should last anywhere from one to two minutes, repeating steps 1-4 on the left for the same amount of time. Doing this two to three times a day can help combat hip tightness.
Not convinced you need these stretches? Even if you don’t feel pain, the external rotators in your hips may be shortened if you sit most of the day. Here’s a quick test to check. The next time you’re out for a walk look down at your feet. Are you toes pointed straight ahead or are your toes pointed out to the sides? They should be facing forward. If your feet are turned out add these stretches to your daily routine ASAP!