5 Easy Hip Openers for Office Workers
We don’t need super X-ray vision to know that you probably spend too much of your day crunched over your computer. All this sitting and slouching can lead to tight hips, lower back pain and pressure on your knees – not to mention a saggy butt. And there is a physical reason why desk workers develop aches, pains and a misaligned pelvis: our hip flexors get shorter when we sit for extended periods of time. Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to correct tight hips with regular stretches that lengthen our hip flexors. We’ve picked five favorites that target different directions of hip movement. If you commit to practicing these soothing hip openers three or four times a week, we think you’ll see a big difference in how your hips, legs and back feel.
If there is a break room in your office, you can do any of these stretches at work. However, the Low Lunge can be done next to your desk or in a conference room. (Make it fun and invite your co-workers to join you!)
Thanks to Prevention Magazine for these easy-to-follow directions. “Start in a runner’s lunge, right leg forward with knee over ankle and left knee on ground with top of your foot flat on the mat. Slowly lift torso and rest hands lightly on right thigh. Lean hips forward slightly, keeping right knee behind toes, and feel the stretch in the left hip flexor. Hold here, or for a deeper stretch, raise arms overhead, biceps by ears. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
Here’s another easy stretch to do at work, which is illustrated in the diagram above. (We like to call it the out of your chair pose.) First, stand up straight with your feet together and knees and hips aligned. Next, bend your knees gradually and slowly lift your arms over your head as you inhale. Your butt will naturally extend to make a “chair” as you increase the stretch. Exhale and hold for 30 seconds (or as much as you are able) and repeat. Be sure to inhale and exhale deeply as you hold your stretch.
We like any stretch that says easy but you can make the classic yoga position illustrated above easy or challenging, depending on how much you stretch. Sit upright on the floor with your ankles crossed and your knees open. Gradually increase the stretch by lowering your knees towards the floor but don’t worry if you can’t reach the floor. The idea of the stretch is to open your hips, which will happen over time. Remember to inhale and exhale as you stretch and hold the pose for 30 seconds or as long as you can.
If you’re looking for a more challenging pose, try the Double Pigeon. Sit on floor with knees bent, using your hand to place your right ankle on your left knee. (Your right knee will rest on the left thigh, but no worries if it points upward.)
Reclining Angle Pose
This stretch is like the Bound Angle Pose (illustrated above) except you will lie down. It’s also a great way to stretch your inner thighs. You’ll need a yoga mat or blanket to be comfortable. First, lie flat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to the sides. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Hold for at least 30 seconds. (Thanks again to Prevention.com for directions.)
Looking for a yoga sequence to open your hips? View this Yoga Journal video by San Francisco teacher Stephanie Snyder.