Too much sitting is associated with a bunch of health problems. But one area that’s often overlooked is mobility. When you spend too much time on your butt, you’re not doing your hips any favors.
Your hips are extremely important for your ability to move freely and fluidly. Tight, weak hips can boost the risk for a fall, slow you down, and even contribute to lower back and neck pain.
Sitting completely disengages the hips to make them weaker, which is no good for balance. The chain reaction caused by shortening the muscles can also lead to poor posture, which ultimately adds pressure to the area and causes other parts of the body to overcompensate.
If you don’t think you have weak or tight hips, try opening them up and holding it. Better yet, try squatting with your feet flat on the floor. Couldn’t do it? Your hips are tight.
But don’t worry, you can loosen them up to improve mobility, reduce pain, and limit the risk for an injury. Stretching your hips, even from a seated position, can be a big help.
Here are a couple of stretches to try:
Forward Fold for Hamstrings:
Put your feet on shelves or boxes or anything that will raise them slightly off the ground. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and slowly fold over at the hips. Reach forward with your feet to stretch out your legs and hold for 20–30 seconds.
Modified Seated Pigeon Stretch:
This is a modified yoga stretch you can perform from a chair. Sit up straight, cross your right ankle over your left knee, and flex your right foot. If you’re doing it right, you should feel a stretch through your glute and outer hip. If not, fold slightly forward at the hip and hold for 20–30 seconds.
These aren’t the only ways you can stretch out your hips. Check online for more stretches while trying to spend less time sitting and more time walking.
Keeping your hips strong and loose can help reduce back pain, improve mobility, and potentially improve balance to reduce the risk for falls.