Hip mobility is essential, not just to athletes but to every regular person, especially for people who tend to sit down a lot. Whether you are a student in school at Harvard, an accountant in Texas working an 8-hour shift behind a desk or a Chicago real estate broker, chronic sitting tightens your hip flexor muscles and weakens your glutes. This directly impacts your hip mobility and physical performance negatively.
The issue of hips getting less flexible over the years affects millions of American people in all walks of life. As professionals we are all getting more sedentary. Even a real estate broker who is supposed to show properties to his customers, will still spend most of his time at work sitting at his desk.
It is crucial that you start moving more and incorporate stretches to offset tight muscles caused by physical passiveness. Otherwise this situation will only worsen as you get older.
The Source of Movement
The hip flexors are a group of muscles located around your inner and upper thighs and pelvic region. These muscles matter because they help you stay mobile. Unfortunately, most people tend to neglect to strengthen these muscles. There are also daily activities that cause your hip flexors to tighten and weaken.
The reason why your hip muscles should stay strong and flexible is that they power nearly every movement you perform. Jumping, walking, running and even just standing will require proper stabilization and flexion of these muscles.
For example, sitting for hours in front of your computer alone can shorten and tighten your back muscles including your hip flexors. It also causes your shoulders to round forward and deliver poor posture.
If you regularly go to the gym to workout after sitting in the office the entire day and you forget to stretch out your hip flexor muscles, this compounds more to poor posture and create muscle imbalances.
Hip Flexibility and Athletic Performance
The hips anatomically consist of over 15 muscles that work with one another to provide you with a full range of hip motion. This means athletes with flexible hip muscles become more powerful and perform more efficiently, and tight muscles can impede an athlete’s complete motion range.
Tight hip muscles can also cause incorrect lifting execution and add strain on the back muscles. Allowing this to happen puts you more susceptible to injuries, especially when your sport involves a lot of lifting heavy weight. Therefore, improving the health of your hip flexor muscles exhibits proper mobility, increases athletic performance, prevents back pain and injuries.
This problem of unflexible hips and sitting too much also affects taxi and truck drivers, who have to spend most of their work time sitting. But if you are a driver for dumpster rentals in Fort Myers or other places in the nation, then you are in luck as your job includes moving heavy objects, which is good for hip flexibility and strength. To help you strengthen your hip flexors for proper mobility, here below are exercises and stretches you can do at home. All you need is an exercise ball and a foam roller.
1. Ball Knee Tuck
- Start with a pushup position and place the tops of your feet and shins on your exercise ball.
- While gripping your torso parallel to the floor, draw your knees inward to your chest.
- Drawback your knees to your starting position and repeat.
- Make sure that you keep your arms and torso steady and avoid rocking your body back and forth.
- Perform ten repetitions.
2. Ball Pikes
- Follow the starting position of the ball knee tuck. Make sure that your arms are supporting your upper body weight while keeping your torso parallel to the floor.
- Raise your hips upward to the sky until the tips of your toes are touching the ball.
- Slowly go back to the starting position and repeat.
- Perform ten repetitions.
3. Foam Rolling
- Lay flat on the floor with your abdomen, dropping your hips on the foam roller while extending your legs.
- Lean on the side of the hip that you want to work on first. Lift up your weight using your elbows and toes for balance.
- While applying slight pressure, roll the foam forward and backward for 2 minutes and do the same on the other hip.
Remember, sitting for extended period of time and staying passive contributes to hip tightness and mobility issues. Make sure that you stay active and apply hip flexor exercises and stretches to release the tension in your muscles. If you are a real estate agent, make sure to use any opportunity to step out of the office to visit offerings as walking is good for your hips. You may also add strength training to these tissues to optimize athletic or physical performance.
If the pain persists for months, contact your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible to identify any other underlying cause of the problem. Depending on the course of action you need, your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs. Some patients utilize natural remedies like curcumin as well to reverse the problem naturally.