5 Stretches for Happy, Healthy Hips
Tight hips are a common problem for many people – from runners and cyclists to those who have jobs requiring a lot of sitting. Learning to regularly stretch tight hips can help to prevent long-term issues as well as to increase flexibility and prevent pain. Check out these stretches and give them a try:
1. Seated Stretch
If you cannot get away from your desk for a moment, try this stretch. With both feet flat on the floor under the knees, lift one foot and place the ankle over the opposite knee, creating a triangle shape with your legs. Lean forward with your back straight over your legs and exhale. Hold for a few breaths, then return to your start position and switch to the other leg.
While sitting on the floor bend your knees and touch the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall to each side and use your hands or arms to gently press your legs into the floor. Hold for five full breaths and then release. For a more intense stretch, try to touch your forehead to your feet, and bring your heels closer to the body.
Start with one leg stretched out directly behind you, the other leg is bent and the outer thigh/calf is flat on the floor with your knee pointed away from you. You’ll feel a pretty intense stretch in your hip, hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides. For a more intense stretch you can reach back with your hand to grab your back foot and pull it towards your body, bending your knee.
4. Double Pigeon
This stretch resembles a reverse cross-legged position with one foot on top. Ensure that your ankles are aligned with the opposite knee. You can then place your hands in front of you and gradually lean forwards, keeping both hips flat to the floor. Hold for five breaths and then switch legs.
5. Hip Flexor Stretch
For this stretch you need an available wall; kneel on the floor and place your back knee about 8 inches from the wall. Your front leg comes out with your foot flat on the floor and your knee bent (like a lunge), while your back knee bends so your toe rests on the wall. Lower your hips until you feel stretching through your back hip/leg and hold for thirty seconds, then switch sides.
Through regular stretching, you’ll be able to open your hips to eliminate tightness and avoid problems with your hips later in life. If you do sit at a desk the majority of the day, try to take regular breaks to stand up and walk a bit. Not only is it good for your hips, it’s good for the rest of your body too.