Do you ever notice that your hips feel tight? Or maybe you notice it's uncomfortable to squat during a workout, to pick up your child, or even to grab a pen off the floor, something doesn’t feel right? A feeling of tightness across the hips comes from tension around the hip flexors. The hip flexors are a group of muscles around the top of the thighs that connect the upper leg to the hip. These muscles allow you to bend at the waist and raise your leg.
We’ve noticed these patterns can be an unknown culprit:
- Long periods of sitting
- Protection mode
- Certain Exercises
1) Long periods of sitting
If you think about it, we sit quite a lot with our current lifestyle. For instance, you sit on the bus/car to go to work (~30 min), sit at work/school (~6-7 hours), sit to on the bus/car to go home (~30 min), sit to eat dinner (~30 min), sit on the couch to watch tv (~1-2 hours).
Based on this lifestyle, it's ~10 hours of sitting! Wow. If this sounds like you, then we can implement other ways to combat this sitting ordeal.
- Drink more water -> leads to more bathroom breaks -> increases movement
- Utilize a sit /stand desk
- Walk to and from work
- Park your car down the block
2) Protection mode
Or it could be an emotional response because your body is in protection mode. Why? Well when trauma happens, we naturally gravitate towards the protection posture (imagine getting beat up by a gang of people and instinctively you hunker down to try to protect yourself (flexed or fetal position)). When the brain/body learns that the environment isn’t safe, it essentially “turtles” to protect itself. If left in protection mode for too long, it memorizes this pattern until taught otherwise. Try out some relaxation or mindfulness exercises to help your body shift out of this protection mode. Belly breathing is a great one!
3) Certain Exercises
Or maybe it’s from certain exercises. Runners often suffer from tight hips because when you run, the hip flexors are contracting. Chronic repetition with this movement can lead to tight hips and hip flexors. Always ensure to stretch after that run, or any form of exercise!
Some people are more prone to tightness in that area of their body, too. Tight hips may put you at increased risk for injury due to the increased demands on tissues that aren’t moving properly. Tight hips have also been linked to low back pain, so ensure to keep this in check with the tips and tricks mentioned above.