If you have an office job, your typical day might look like this: sitting in a car while on your way to work; sitting at your desk while at work; sitting in a meeting or two; sitting in your car while on your way home from work; sitting in front of the television or laptop; sitting down for dinner. That’s a lot of sitting. Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to tight hips, and tight hips can make us less and less mobile and may even cause pain in the lower back or knees. Fortunately, there are little things you can do throughout the workday to help counteract the effects of sitting. Getting up and moving around as much as you can, even if it’s just for a minute or two, can help prevent you from falling into the slumped-over-keyboard position we tend to find ourselves in all too often. You may also want to try these three lower-body/hip stretches* that you can perform right at your desk (never mind the funny looks you may receive from co-workers).
Seated Hip Stretch
Sit upright and maintain good posture. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Gently lean forward, if you are able, and focus on keeping your back straight. You should feel a nice stretch in your right hip and bottom. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat. Try two sets for each leg.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your left leg, keeping your right leg forward and right foot on the floor in front of you. Place your hands on your right thigh, keep your back nice and straight and gently shift your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your left hip and groin area. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then switch legs and repeat. Try two sets for each leg.
Leg swings are a dynamic stretch that helps loosen up your hips and hamstrings (back of the thighs). You can perform these using the back of your chair or a wall for balance. Begin with front-to-back swings by placing your hand on the back of a chair and swinging your right leg forward and then backward in a controlled (not flailing) motion. Aim for 15 swings total if you can. Switch legs and repeat. Next, try a side-to-side swing. Swing your right leg out to your right side as far as is comfortable, then sweep the same leg in front of you toward your left side. Shoot for 15 swings total, switch legs and repeat.
Important: Remember to never stretch cold muscles. It’s best to perform these stretches right after a brisk walk or marching in place.
If you would like additional exercises you can do at your desk, check out Seated Resistance Band Exercises.
*The information presented is educational and should not substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider. The information may not suit an individual’s particular health situation.