The stories about how sitting all day are bad for your health have taken over the news. Unfortunately another side effect of our desk job/computer lifestyle is that when you are ready to work out your tight muscles can quickly result in injury. Now we’re sitting for work and sitting because of injury, how does one win?! We combat that sitting by correcting our posture and stretching out the hips.
Lordosis is the medical term to describe the change in our natural posture from all of this sitting. In plain English it causes your butt to push back and thus your belly to come forward. So you might get that Kim Kardashian bootie, but at the expense of your stomach protruding when in fact you really should have a nice flat belly. In fact the tightness in your quads, the low back pain and even your ITB issues could all be from your hips being out of alignment due to the consistent tightness.
What does it look like? You can see an exaggerated version in the posture of many pregnant women, as a natural attempt to try and balance the body. Resolving this is two parts: Stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the muscles that have been turned off due to the other muscle tightness.
Stretching whether through a consistent yoga practice or simply these few stretches will loosen your hip flexors to help resolve misaligned pelvis or rotational pelvis issues (i.e. when you find one leg is longer than the other). Sitting causes the hip flexors to remain flexed and active all day long, which results in overuse and then stiffness. Here are a few daily stretches that will help to keep those muscles lengthened and strong.Kneeling hip flexor stretch - Tuck your hips under and with one leg forward lean in to the stretch. You should feel it right along the front of the leg on the ground.
Squat or child’s pose - Both of these poses help to release tension in the lower back. For child’s pose your feet are together and your knees are out to the side.
Assisted Quad Stretch - Place your foot on top of couch and knee as close to parallel as you can. Keep your body tall and straight, don’t lean back or forward. You may need to start with your knee farther from the couch. This is more effective than the standing quad stretch due to the added resistance.
Knee hug -- Who couldn’t use a hug every day?! Simply bring in one leg at a time while keeping the other flat on the floor for another static stretch to release the low back.
There are many more stretches you can do to open your hips like pigeon pose, but these 5 are effective and a great start. You can also checkout this video for the IT Band from Sage Rountree on YouTube. I have used it for years.
Next week I’ll provide more at home exercises to help resolving hip rotation or pelvic imbalance which is experienced by many female runners due to the constant impact of running. Do you stretch daily? What’s your favorite hip opener?
I am grateful for being reminded that tears are not a sign of weakness, but sometimes a cleansing of the soul.