What Your Workday Is Doing To Your Hips
It has been a long week. From sitting in lengthy meetings to spending lengthier hours in front of your laptop, there is barely enough time to fit in a stretch what more a decent workout. Little surprise then that your body greets the weekend in a mass of knots. Like most overworked people, you then book yourself into a massage or a gentle yoga session. And like most of them, you focus on soothing your neck, shoulders and back. But that’s only half the damage undone. The rest of your workday is still living on in your aching hips.
Spending most of your workday in a chair can unleash mayhem on your hips, and legs. In the long run, the ripple effect will catch up with your back, shoulders and neck as well. The good news is that tightness in the hips isn’t irreversible. But to fix the problem you first have to understand it so here are five facts you should know about your hips.
There are 20 muscles that cross the hips. These comprise inner and outer thigh muscles, hip flexors in front and deep lateral rotators at the back. Stretching any of these muscles will bring a sense of release and relief across the body.
Hips are the body’s central hub of movement. Tight hips are like wearing pants that are a size too small – it restricts the lower body’s range of movement and causes extreme discomfort in the glutes, legs and spine.
Tight hips lead to disc injuries and sciatica. Prolonged sitting causes the hyperactive hip flexors to shorten and the inactive glutes to stretch and weaken. The tight hip flexors begin pulling the pelvis forward, and because the glutes are unable to counter this movement, the lower spine ends up being compressed.
Your hips need a break every half hour. Even if you have a standing desk, five minutes of walking will ease the growing stiffness in your hips.
Opening the hips can release pent-up emotions and create an energetic shift. Our physical bodies are storage grounds for our emotional lives, and the hips are assigned the emotions of anger, frustration and sadness. The hip openers below will not only release these emotions but also make space for the emergence of new ideas and beginnings.
1. Leg swings. Using your desk or chair for balance, swing your right leg as far forwards and backwards as possible. Then swing it to the right and across your body to the left. Repeat this sequence for as long as you need before switching to the left leg.
2. Seated pigeon. Sitting at the edge of your chair, place your right ankle on your left knee. Flex your right foot and gently press down on your right knee to open the right hip joint. Hold for as long as necessary before switching to the left side.
3. Legs up the wall. Sit with your right hip against a wall and bring your knees to your chest. Roll onto your back, slide your buttocks forward until it touches the wall and then straighten your legs upwards. Stay there for at least three minutes as your hips and lower back release and relax.
4. Reclining crossed legs. Lie on your back, bend your legs and cross the right knee over the left. Hold your knees, shin or ankles as you draw your legs to your chest. Relax your shoulders and enjoy the stretch in the outer parts of your hips and thighs as well as the openness in your lower back.
Image credit: Betta Living
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