If you work in an office environment and sit all day at a desk, you probably experience hip pain. This can happen on days that you don’t stand as much as well. The reason for this is because remaining in a seated position for a long time shortens the hip flexors. This throws the pelvis out of alignment and can increase the risk of lower back pain.
What Causes Tightness?
The tightness you experience in the hips is attributed to the iliacus and the psoas, also known together as the iliopsoas. They attach the front of the lower spine and the pelvis and run through the abdominals, attaching to your thigh bone. Not only do these muscles flex your hips, but they also bring your thigh in towards your core. They also help to stabilize the lower back and pelvis, but they tighten up if you sit for too long.
Everyone doesn’t have the luxury to practice yoga several times a day while at the office. It would cause quite a scene and your boss may talk with you about not prioritizing your work. The good news is that you can prioritize stretching without even leaving your office chair. No need to lift your cheeks from the seat in order to get a satisfying hip stretch! Simply go through the following stretches to keep your hips loose and limber. As a bonus, you may relieve back pain in the process!
Seated Figure Four
This is a very easy stretch that helps you open up your hips while simultaneously stretching the glutes. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Place the outside of your right ankle on your left thigh. Flex the right foot and rest your left hand on the heel and the right hand on the right knee, pushing it down gently to open your hip. You can remain in this position or lean forward to deepen the stretch. Hold for about 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Seated Hip Flexor Stretch
Anyone who sits down for long periods of time needs to do this stretch. It works to stretch the hip flexors and quadriceps, helping to relieve tension in the front of the hip and thigh. Start in a seated position with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Scoot your buttocks to the front of the chair and drop your right knee to the ground. You should be in a half-kneeling position, keeping your left buttocks on the edge of the chair. Rotate your trunk a little to the left and feel the stretch along the front of your hip. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then switch sides.
Seated Pigeon Twist
If you have a stiff lower back and tight glutes, this stretch can help relieve tension. Additionally, it may improve internal hip and lumbar rotation. Begin in a seated position with your back straight and feet planted on the floor. Cross your right leg completely over your left, resting your hamstring on top of your left thigh. Rotate your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Grab onto the back of the chair with your right arm to feel a gentle twist. Do not over-rotate in this position! You should feel a stretch in your right glute and lower back. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Seated Modified Butterfly
People tend to focus stretches on the outer hips and glutes and fail to stretch the inner thighs. This modified butterfly works to ease tension in the adductors (inner thighs) for optimal hip movement. Start in a seated position with your back straight and feet planted on the floor. Slide your buttocks to the front of the chair and keep your feet together. Separate your knees as wide as you can, using your hands to gently press on the inside of your knees to widen the stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds and try to keep your back straight while leaning forward in the stretch.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Similar to your hip flexors, your hamstrings tighten easy after a long day in a seated position. Decrease tension in your hamstrings to help relieve lower back and hip pain. Begin in a seated position with your back straight and both feet planted on the floor. Scoot your buttocks to the front of the chair and extend your right leg straight out in front of you. Hinge at the hips as you lean forward and reach your fingers toward your toes. Flex your foot to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.