If you're working in an office, you know the pain and frustration you get when you stand up after sitting a long time. There's a creakiness and ache… and there's that moment that you can't quite straighten up, staying hunched over like someone much, much older.
A couple of hip stretches help you reduce and eliminate that kind of pain. You aren't doomed to pain or standing at your desk all day to find relief. These stretches are good for doing in your office and as many times during the day as feels comfortable. That way, when you stand up, you can get right up and move around without pain.
What Happens When You Sit All Day?
When you sit for a long time, your sensitive back muscles help keep you upright and that leads to back pain. But the thick hamstring, quads, and glutes are what should keep you balanced. Sitting slumped over makes your hamstrings and glutes tight. When these muscles get tight, they cause all sorts of problems. Everything from knee pain to headaches link back to tight hamstrings and glutes.
Fortunately, these three stretches don't take a very long time and cover the majority of muscles that give you problems standing up and walking around. You can look ten years younger just by doing a few stretches.
Top Three Stretches For Your Tight Hips
We're going to go over how to do these stretches at home and in your office chair. That way, you get the most benefit.
For every single one of these stretches, hold the position between 20 and 30 seconds. That's the ideal time to stretch out the muscles properly.
Your hamstring might be the most important muscle in your body, after your heart and tongue. Keeping this muscle stretched out helps you maintain good posture and flexible movement.
If you have space, stand up and keep your feet about hip-width apart. With your knees slightly bent, fold at your hip, not your stomach. Go as far as you can until you feel that incredible stretch in the back of your legs. The goal is not to reach the floor, just to stretch your legs.
If you're seated on the floor, extend one leg straight out from your hips and bend your other knee. Fold at your hip to reach for your toes. Again, we're looking for a stretch, not how far you can reach.
Once you're at your desk and seated in a chair, it can be a little bit more challenging. But, you can do it. Seat yourself on the very edge of your chair. With one leg bent to give you support, stretch out your other leg, so only your heel rests on the floor. Now, fold your hip to feel the pull in your hamstring.
The biggest thing with the stretch is the fold at your hips. Because your hamstrings are connected to your hip bones, folding from your stomach does not stretch the muscles in the most helpful way.
Seated Pigeon Stretch
We know this one sounds a little odd if you haven't taken some yoga classes, but this is an excellent stretch to open your hip. This pose crosses one leg in front of your body and stretches the other out behind you. It's supposed to remind you of a bird stretching its one leg back towards its tail feathers.
In your desk chair, you can't exactly do this pose precisely as it's pictured above. What you can do is sit at the edge of your desk chair cross the middle of your shin over the opposite knee. Now, slowly bend forward from your hip. You should feel a natural stretch through your glutes and butt.
If you're at home, lay on your back and identically cross your legs. Then catch the thigh of the leg that remains straight and slowly pull it towards your chest. If you want to try the full pose, we recommend finding a yoga instructor that can teach you how to do the entire stretch without injuring yourself.
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend
When you're seated on the floor, stretch both your legs as wide as possible, keeping your knees straight. Then, fold forward from your hips as far as possible. If you're not used to stretching, you're not going to bend over very far, and that's okay.
At your desk chair, seat yourself on the very edge, spread your legs wide and reach to the floor. You should be careful that you're wearing pants that will allow this type of stretch. Otherwise you could rip something or, if you're wearing a dress or skirt, unwittingly give a show.
We hope you take these three stretches and apply them to your workday. They can help you move around a little bit easier and encourage you to get a little more exercise. They're also great for taking quick two to three-minute mental breaks that will help you focus on your next task a little bit easier.