If you are like most Americans you find yourself sitting for the majority of the day. Whether this is at work, school, at home watching tv or gaming chances are you are sitting. Unfortunately sitting for long periods of time is terrible for our health. People who sit for the majority of the day are more likely to be overweight, have diabetes, heart disease. When we sit for long periods of time we often loose our core strength read here for exercises to improve core strength. Today’s blog is about the changes that happen in your hips and your glutes. When sitting for long periods of time it causes our muscles of the hip region, especially the front to tighten, and become shorter. Second when we are sitting for long periods of time our glut muscles become deactivated. The combination of these two changes how we move and walk and can often lead to chronic back pain. The fallowing 5 exercises designed to activate the glutes and help loosen up the tight hips and are advised for anyone that sits for the majority of the day to keep proper pelvic balance.
Leg swings are a great dynamic stretch that can not only stretch the hip but also the hamstrings as well. To perform the leg swings find something to hold for balance about hip height is ideal. At this point keep one leg straight and flat on the ground and kick your opposite leg held straight all the way up and swing all the way back. Switch legs and do both sides. While here you can also do side leg swings. Instead of kicking your leg out in front of you and straight behind this time swing your leg across in front of you and then fallow through going to the outside. Do this for 30 seconds to a 1 minute in each direction.
The name fire hydrant actually from the image of a dog lifting their leg to pee on a hydrant as the movement is very similar. You start on all fours with hands and knees contacting the ground. With your knees bent you rotate one hip out laterally to 90 degrees at this point the inside of you leg should be facing the ground and your toe should be facing laterally towards the wall. From here bring down the leg slowly in a controlled fashion. This should performed on both sides with 12 to 15 repetitions. To make more difficult you can straighten the leg out once you have brought the hip to 90 degree rotation and bring it back to bent before returning to starting position.
Adopt a kneeling position in front of something that you can use to hold your foot up (i.e., a couch). Your back knee should be completely flexed, meaning your heel is as close as possible to your butt. It’s easy to compensate in this position by hyperextending your lower back, but it’s crucial that you don’t. Instead, I want you to focus on squeezing your glutes and hamstrings, which will push your hips forward and help you keep your back from hyperextending.” If your right foot is back, you should feel an intense stretch on the right front side of your hip. Hold it for a long time, like a minute or two, and then switch sides. This stretch will help stretch your hip flexors which over long periods of sitting become extremely tight.
The Grok Squat is very similar to a catcher’s stance in baseball. Simply squat down until your butt touches your ankles. Keep your heels firmly on the ground and your back straight. Hold that position for 30-60 seconds. You should feel your hamstrings, quads, Achilles tendons, lower back, and groin gently stretching. If you’re super stiff, it may take a few days of practice to sink into a full squat. Keep at it. Your back and hips will thank you.
Start with your back flat on the ground with feet flat on the ground and knees bent. From this position lift bridge your hips up as high as you can stretching the hip flexors and contracting the buttocks at the top. Hold that position for 1 to 3 seconds and bring down slowly back to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times.
Now that you have the exercises perform these 2 to 3 times a week and it will go a long way to reversing the negative effects that sitting is having on your hips, glutes, and spine.