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Sitting All Day? Get Those Tight Hips Moving

Exercise alone can’t forestall the impact of sitting for hours and hours each and every day. A recent study proved that introducing regular movement into our days — by standing at work, for example, or by taking regular breaks to walk around the office — slows the aging process within our cells. The truth of the matter is, our bodies are designed to move.

You may have noticed that when you stand up after working for a few hours, your first instinct is to stretch your arms out and back, and then close your chest inward to reverse the stretch. Introducing that dynamic, repeated motion to your work life is a great thing.

By focusing on mobility, our muscles get the movement they need to keep metabolism working and eliminating the negative effects of sitting sedentarily. By moving gently through our range of motion, we can prepare our bodies for the tasks they will encounter each day.

Knee Stirs
Knee stirs are a restorative movement that promotes fluid motion in the hips and release in the lower back.

Start by lying face up on a yoga mat. Bring your knees into your chest. Place one hand on each knee and use your arms to rotate your knees. Try rotating the knees clockwise and then counterclockwise. You can also try moving the knees together in the same direction and or in opposite directions from one another. Remember to start small and expand your rotation to your full range of motion, so long as it’s comfortable.

Breathe easily throughout, and keep your lower spine pressed into the floor. Be sure to “stir” your knees clockwise and counter clockwise for at least 10 rotations each direction.

Forward and Backward Leg Swings
Forward and backward leg swings are a great way to warm up and dynamically stretch the hip flexors, extensors, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.

Begin by standing an arm’s length from perpendicular to a wall (make sure there’s plenty of space in front of and behind you). Place your hand against the wall at shoulder height for balance. Keep both feet directly beneath your hips, then begin to swing the leg closest to the wall forward and backward, gently at first. Gradually increase the height of swing to your full range of motion. Switch sides and repeat.

Side to Side Leg Swings
This is a great mobility exercise for the adductors and abductors.

Face the wall and place your hands against the wall at shoulder height. Step your feet back just a few inches to give yourself room to move. Swing one leg to the side of the body and then across the front of your standing leg. Gradually increase the height of your swing to your maximum comfortable height. Switch legs and repeat.

10 swings for each of these exercises (a total of 40) ought to do it! Remember to stand upright throughout, and keep your trunk stable.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
To begin, get into a half kneeling position. Get a nice posterior pelvic tilt by contracting your abs and your glutes at the same time. Stand up tall and hold the position. You should feel the stretch in your hip flexor.

To increase the depth of the stretch, lean forward slightly. A small movement should make the difference, though! Don’t overdo it; going too far forward will stretch your quads rather than your hip flexor.

Kettleball Deep Squats

Deep Squats
Start by standing with your feet directly beneath your hips. Widen your stance by stepping your feet a few inches to either side; your toes should be at 1:00 and 11:00. Breathe in to ensure stability in your abs and lower back, and sit back to your heels. Assume a low squat, and keep breathing! Your glutes should stay engaged and your feet firmly pressed into the floor; don’t sink into the ground. Stick around for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat several times to keep those hips limber.

What are your favorite mobility exercises that open the hips? Share them with us via Facebook or Twitter!