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6 Proven Hip Stretch Exercises to Improve Your Hip Mobility
By now, we’re all well aware of the fact that sitting for long periods can cause numerous health issues that hamper your overall quality of life. The body isn’t made for extended sitting, after all. Among the general population, one of the most common complaints is significant hip pain.
Experiencing tightness and pain around the hip area can extend to the inner thighs, outer thighs, knees, and the back area as well. With all the connected muscle pain, it’s not that hard to wonder why it’s highly important to loosen up those tight hips.
In this article, we rounded up some desk exercises and stretches to loosen up those tight hips and bring you some relief from knee, foot, and back pain. Give them a try!
What Are Tight Hip Flexors?
This term refers to a group of muscles in and around the hips. Their main function is to help move your legs and trunk together. When you find your hip muscles having limited movement, you’re experiencing tightness. You may also experience back issues and your knees converging inward, provoking medial pain around the area.
What Causes Hip Tightness?
Having a sedentary lifestyle is usually the main contributor to having a tight hip area. Too much sitting can cause the muscles to relax and deactivate, becoming weaker, shorter, and feel sore at times. While it’s not completely possible to prevent tight hips, you can reduce the risk of this condition by moving around more.
Signs You Have Tight Hip Flexors
Experiencing hip tightness can impact you in several ways. Of course, the most obvious sign is that the muscle area is tight. You may also experience other symptoms such as ache in your lower lumbar area especially when standing, having poor posture, and difficulty standing up straight. There’s also the presence of neck tightness, as well as ache in your glutes.
How to Identify and Correct Tight Hip Flexors
To accurately identify if you have tightness around the hips, you can do an evaluation on yourself by lying flat on a table or bench. Pull a knee up your chest and hold it there while your other leg relaxes downward over the edge of the table. If your hip area is fine, you’ll find it easy to extend the thigh, parallel to the floor and your knee angled at 90 degrees without the thigh rising up. If you find any difficulty doing the movement, this indicates that you have hip tightness and you need to open them up.
How Long Does It Take to Loosen Tight Hips?
Immediate relief from hip tightness and any pain concerning the muscles in the back, knee, or feet is more than welcome. However, there isn’t an exact timeline for how long it can take to loosen your tight hips. It varies, depending on the person. For some, it only takes 2 to 3 months, for some it can take 6 months or even more, especially if a person developed a major hip flexor injury. It can even turn into a chronic condition that you may have to deal with for a lifetime. Worry not though, for it’s never too late to fix or loosen up those hips. Interested in knowing how? Read on!
Strengthen and Stretch: Hip Flexor Exercises
How Can I Loosen My Hips Fast?
If you’re feeling discomfort and tightness around your hips, it’s important to deal with it right away so that you don’t develop any other serious condition. Aside from sitting less and switching your regular office furniture for ergonomic products, exercises and stretches can help loosen up your muscles and restore your mobility. Here are some stretches that you can do — and you don’t even need to get out of your chair for most of them. Try them out!
Hip Flexor Stretch
Start by taking a stable chair or locking the wheels of your office chair so that it doesn’t roll away. Next, place your foot on top of the seat of the chair, knee bent slightly, leaning onto your standing leg and bringing your back hip towards the front. Try to keep your lower back upright as much as possible. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 seconds then switch sides and repeat.
Modified Revolving Triangle IT Band Stretch
To do this, begin by straightening one leg out in front of you and keep your other leg bent with your foot flat on the ground. Flex the foot of the straightened limb and squeeze your quad. If you have your right leg straight, fold forward and reach your left hand towards your right shin. Next, twist to your right and reach your right arm up towards the ceiling. This should give you a stretching sensation along the right outer thigh and iliotibial muscle (IT band.) Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
Warrior 1 Pose
Give your body a break from sitting by trying out this pose as it requires you to stand up from your chair. After doing so, step your right foot forward and your left foot back. Open your feet wider than your hips, then bend the front knee while keeping the back leg straight. Turn your left toes, letting them face forward on a 45-degree angle. Next, you can put a hand on your hips and the other on your desk for balance, or reach them towards the sky. Pull in your abs and relax your shoulders. Hold for about 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch to the other side.
Modified Seated Pigeon Stretch
The pigeon pose is usually done on the mat in yoga, but this modified version of it can be done at your desk. While sitting upright in your chair, cross your right ankle over your left knee. Next, flex your right foot and feel a stretch in your right glute and outer hip. If you don’t feel a stretch of any kind, slowly lean forward at your waist, veering towards your right hip. Hold for about 20 to 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
Forward Fold Hamstring Pose
This position can help loosen up the muscles in the back of the legs and your lower back. To do this, you’ll need a box or a stable item with some height to rest your heel on. Once you’ve placed your foot up on the box, pull your navel in towards your spine and then fold forward, hinging at the hips.
Reach over towards the right toes and then over towards the left, stretching each leg on its own respectively. You can also reach forward towards your feet and extend both your legs together. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing in slowly and deeply as you do so.
Modified Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend
While sitting, turn your chair so that you can place and elevate your right heel on a box or a stable item. Lean forward slowly to feel a more intense stretching sensation in the inner thigh as you go along. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
By doing the aforementioned exercises, you can open up and loosen those tight hips! Apart from that, you also reduce the risk of developing or worsening foot, knee, and back pain. Always remember to listen to your body though; if you experience any pain and discomfort, seek a certified personal trainer or a doctor for professional medical advice. Stay active and stay healthy!