Since most people have switched to permanent working from home, there is often not as much space and time to move around and stretch within the busy workday. Because of this, people have decided to run and cycle as a way to exercise as well as get out of the house. Activities like sitting for an elongated period of time, running, and cycling have all been known to cause tight hip flexors. Without stretching out the legs, tight hip flexors create an anterior (forward) pull on the hips which changes posture and disengages the glutes. Without the glutes engaged, the anterior pelvic tilt causes muscle imbalances and can lead to low back pain. The change in posture, as well as the low back muscles trying to compensate and tighten up to “correct” itself, will cause pain in the back and a lot of discomforts.
Some ways to prevent low back pain:
- Standing desk: Standing up at work for 30 minutes at a time will greatly decrease the risk of your hip flexors tightening up and it strengthens your glutes which will help release tight muscles in the back.
- Maintaining Proper Posture: Keeping proper posture whilst both sitting and standing will release your back and will maintain your mobility and strength while aging.
- Stretch: If you stretch out your entire body, not just the low back, it will release all your muscles and tissues and calm your body as a whole. When you are flexible, your muscles are less likely to tighten up and cause pain.
Ways to loosen up tight hip flexors and glutes:
- Medicine Ball Rolls: To release the muscles in your hip you can use a medicine ball, a soccer ball, or basketball. You start by laying in a prone position with your forearms and toes on the floor. Your shoulders should be in line with your elbows and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Put the ball under your hip joint and just inside the pelvis. Keeping a flat position, roll the ball downwards slowly towards your quad. When you find a part of the muscle that is tight and a little painful, hold the position for 30-90 seconds until you feel your muscle release. Continue this on both sides.
Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we will walk you through ten of our favorite exercises for strengthening and lengthening the glutes.
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