Stretches & Exercises to Relieve Tight Hips
Updated: Nov 14
Let's face it, we are chronic sitters. The human race has been sitting down for longer periods of time more and more recently, due to, you guessed it, computers. According to John Hopkins Medicine, since 1950, sedentary jobs have increased by 83%. Sitting for prolonged periods of time tightens the hips and can lead to pain as well as other potential problems.
Hip pain doesn't discriminate, though, and although sitting can be the main perpetrator, hip flexor overuse injuries in sports are also contributors. No matter if you sit at a desk all day or you are the star player on your soccer team, hip flexibility is essential to proper function and injury prevention in your daily life.
Why Stretching the Hips is Important
Stretching the hips is vital for maintaining hip joint mobility and preventing hip pain and stiffness. Here are some reasons why stretching the hips is important:
Improves Flexibility: Stretching the hip muscles can help maintain or improve joint flexibility, which is essential for pain-free movement.
Relieves Tension: Tight hips can cause discomfort and tension in the lower back, hips, and legs. Stretching can help release this tension and alleviate discomfort.
Improves Posture: Tight hip muscles can pull on the lower back, causing poor posture. Stretching the hips can help improve posture and reduce the risk of lower back pain.
Reduces Risk of Injury: Tight hips can lead to overuse injuries or strains. Stretching can help reduce the risk of injury by improving muscle flexibility and mobility.
Enhances Athletic Performance: Athletes who require hip mobility, such as runners and dancers, can benefit from hip stretching to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Incorporating hip stretching into your daily routine can help maintain or improve hip mobility, reduce the risk of injury, and alleviate discomfort. Remember to stretch gently and perform both static and dynamic stretches. If you experience any pain or discomfort while stretching, consult with a physical therapist or medical professional.
Why Hips Can Get Tight
The hips are essential in supporting your body's weight and movement, making them one of the most critical joints in the body. When the hips become tight, it can cause discomfort and pain, and even lead to lower back problems. There are various reasons why hips can get tight, such as:
Prolonged Sitting: Sitting for long periods can cause the hip flexor muscles to shorten and tighten, leading to discomfort and pain.
Sedentary Lifestyle: A lack of physical activity can cause muscle stiffness, leading to tight hips.
Exercise: Overuse or incorrect use of the hip muscles during exercise can cause tightness in the hips.
Exercises and Stretches to Relieve Tight Hips
Seated Piriformis Stretch
Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, gently lean down with your chest leading, and keep your back straight, holding for 30 seconds on each side.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on the ground with one foot in front of the other, keeping your back straight. Slowly push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
This yoga pose is excellent for releasing tension in the hips. Start on all fours, bring one knee up towards your hand, and extend the other leg behind you. Slowly lower yourself down to the ground and hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Preventing Tight Hips
While there are exercises and stretches that can help relieve tight hips, it's always better to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent tight hips:
Move Regularly: Avoid sitting or standing in the same position for long periods. Take breaks every 30 minutes to stand up, stretch, and move around.
Stretch Daily: Incorporate daily stretching into your routine, especially for your hips. This can help maintain flexibility and prevent muscle tightness.
Strengthen Your Hips: Strengthening exercises can help maintain muscle balance around the hip joint, reducing the risk of tightness and injury.
Use Proper Form: Whether it's during exercise or everyday movements, using the proper form can prevent overuse and strain on the hips.
Seek Professional Help: If you're experiencing hip pain or discomfort, seek help from a physical therapist or medical professional. They can help identify the root cause of your tight hips and provide customized treatment plans to prevent them from happening again.
By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can prevent tight hips and maintain hip health. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and taking care of your body is essential for optimal function and well-being.
Tight hips can be uncomfortable and even painful, but there are ways to relieve the tension and discomfort. Incorporating stretches and exercises into your daily routine can help unlock your hips and alleviate any pain or discomfort. Remember, consistency is key, and it's essential to listen to your body. If you experience any pain while doing these exercises or stretches, please consult with a physical therapist or medical professional. At Rehab United, we offer customized treatment plans to help you recover and achieve your goals.
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Ariela Liberman is a Marketing Associate and a staff writer for Rehab United, with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, she is a Southern California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.
Arturo Valle, PT, DPT, FAFS, CSCS, STMT-1, BFR-1, CCI, is a Physical Therapist, Clinic Director of Rehab United in Escondido, and Director of Rehab United’s Quality Assurance Program. As a graduate of USC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Dr. Valle has always emphasized the implementation of Evidence-Based Practice into all plans of care. Throughout his 12 years of experience, Dr. Valle has treated thousands of orthopedic-related and sports injuries and mentored countless Physical Therapists and Students of Physical Therapy.