Working from home more after covid? Make sure to stretch this muscle!
Covid has influenced all of us in different ways, one major way is that it has increased the amount of people working from home. This has had a massive impact on the number of people sitting down at work for longer periods, in particular people who have sedentary jobs. Being seated for long periods of time might sound enticing at first but people should be aware of the potential knock-on effect it can have on our bodies and our exercise routines.
This is where the hip flexors come in! The hip flexors are a group of muscles towards the front of the hip. Knowing that muscles are responsible for the movement of our body, what movement do the hip flexors do? They are responsible for flexing your leg and knee towards your body (see below)
Why does this impact me and my working from home? When we sit down, we might not realise but our hips move into a state of flexion. The longer this happens the shorter and tighter our hip flexors become due to their persistent use during prolonged sitting down. Short and tight hip flexors can have a detrimental effect on our posture, which will worsen over time if not addressed properly.
How does this affect my exercise? If we have muscles that are short and tight this will create a muscle imbalance in our bodies. If we then exercise incorrectly, we will increase this muscle imbalance further and place ourselves at an increased risk of injury. Injury means no training and no training can lead to a decline in our overall health.
What can I do to help? If you find yourself with tight hip flexors there are several things you can do to ensure it doesn’t interrupt your exercise or your daily life. You can begin by stretching the muscles more frequently (see below). Like any stretch, ensure you perform it correctly and that you can feel the muscle being stretched in the correct part of the body. Ease your way into the stretch slowly and always remember, no bouncing. Another big way you can improve tight hip flexors is to strengthen its opposing muscle, the glutes. This can be done by regularly completing glute activation work and incorporating it into your warmup routine before you exercise (especially if you are doing exercises that use the hip flexors e.g. running). Here is an example of a glute activation circuit you could do before you next train.
- Glute bridges x 10
- Donkey kicks x 10 each leg
- Clam x 10 each side
- Banded body squats x 10
Repeat for 2 to 3 sets.
If you find yourself sitting more frequently or for longer periods of time, make sure you pay attention to this very important muscle group that can often be overlooked!!