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Sitting is new smoking - easy stretches to release the tension of your hips muscles

Do you know long hours of sitting can cause weak and tight hip muscles? Now with everyone almost home office and the gyms are closed, we might be sitting longer than usual. As humans, our bodies are designed for movement, not for long hours of sitting.

An analysis of 13 studies found that those who sat for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.

photo from Adioma

The importance of our hip muscles

The hip muscles support the pelvis and core in order to form a strong foundation for the legs and arms to move from. If these muscles are not doing their job properly, the strong foundation does not exist, and therefore the body has to compensate to adjust for the deficit.

Many common injuries throughout the body have been associated with a strength deficit (weakness) at the hips. You may know someone who has experienced knee pain, IT band syndrome, back pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or other aches/pains/syndromes through the leg. In most of these cases, the individual demonstrates weakness of the hip muscles upon assessment.

In my teaching, I found the hip area is either lack of strength or mobility. This leads to the limitation of our hips extension, hips abductions, and hard to find a common ground during the yoga balance pose, especially when there is a combination of these movements.

Three easy stretches you should do everyday

Here are some gentle hip muscles stretches you can try to do every day.

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)

There are many variations of Anjaneyasana, here I incorporate hip stretches with a little bit of back-bending. Therefore, please engage your core, lengthen your spine during this position.

Beginners’ tip

  1. Please make sure you widen the distance between your legs.

  2. The front knee is on top of your angle, not surpass it.

  3. Please lower your hips and make sure your hips are square facing the front leg.

  4. Engage your core and gently lift your chest away from your thigh.

  5. If you have lower back pain, please avoid back bending or arch your lower back.

  6. Always engage your core in order to protect the lower back.

Benefit of this pose

It helps to stretch the hip flexors and quads.

It helps with hips extension mobility.

It strengthens the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and the deep inner core muscles.

It can also alleviate lower back pain.

Benefit from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

The stomach and spleen meridians run through the groin muscles and quadricep muscles. These two meridians are highly associated with emotions, and when they are out of balance one can heighten the experiences of anxiety, disappointment, doubt and more. By stimulating these meridians, one can create more energy and blood flow to these regions, thereby promoting better digestion and better mood.

Reclined pigeon pose (Supta Kapotasana)

Reclined pigeon pose

This is a perfect variation for those who can not do traditional pigeon pose, or who are suffering from lower back pain too.

Beginners’ tip

  1. Flex your upper foot to protect your knee.

  2. Gently push your upper knee away from your chest.

  3. Chin tuck in in order to maintain a neutral spine.

  4. If you have any knee injuries or feeling knee pain, please avoid practicing this pose.

Benefit of this pose

Opens the hips

Relieve sciatica or piriformis issues

Increase blood flow to the pelvis

Improve digestion

Release lower body tension

Improve circulation in the hips, lower back and lower body.

Benefit from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

It balances the liver and gallbladder meridians. This releases anger/ frustration and brings a sense of ease to the body.

Wide angle seated forward bend (Upavistha Konasana)

Wide angle seated forward ben

When we sit all day, our inner groin is tight, and it also limits our abduction and adduction movement, which is very important for our hips mobility.

Beginners’s tip

  1. Please make sure your both sitting bones are evenly on the ground.

  2. Flex your feet, and root down your heels to the floor.

  3. Do not curve your back, always maintain a straight spine to protect your lower back when you go forward.

  4. Those with limited flexibility, may sit on a pillow or folded blanket to raise the buttocks.

  5. If you have herniated disks, please consult a doctor before practicing this pose.

Benefit of this pose

It helps to stretch your hamstrings and groins.

Activate your core muscles.

Strengthens the supporting muscles of your spine.

Improve digestion

Relief from fatigue and stress

Increased energy

Benefit from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

The liver and kidney meridians run through the inner thigh muscles and all the way to your toes. Liver meridians are responsible for filtering, detoxifying and nourishing blood. While kidney meridians are helping us to restore the energy.

Please also try to stand up for 5 mins after 60mins of sitting. You may set a timer to remind you. You could either go to make a cup of tea, stand up and walk around, even do some 5 mins easy stretches. They can easily ease your hip muscles and create a better balance of your work life.

Or you can join my online yoga sessions. We are having an expat group every Wednesday morning at 9:30AM for Vinyasa. Don't worry, if you are beginners, I always provide modification during the class. If you are interested please book online and I will send you the payment information. Hope to see you soon.

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