Your hip flexors aren’t just the group of muscles located along the abdomen and upper thigh. They are one of the strongest muscle groups you have, and when it’s not worked out properly, can result in knee pain, back discomfort and incorrect posture (among other things). Are your shins burning after a morning jog, or is your lower back in severe pain after leaning over your desk all afternoon, staring at the computer screen? Believe it or not, if you have back, leg, or even foot pain, your hip flexors may be to blame!
Tight Hip Flexors Can Set Your Entire Body Up For Injury
When your entire body feels tight (after taking a high impact cardio class or when waking up in the morning after a great night’s sleep) it could be because your hip flexors are tight. Consider this on for size: Governmental statistics say that half of United States workers sit more than six hours a day, and 65% of these hard workers sit down (again) and watch more than two hours of TV. The problem is not relaxing after a hard day’s work. The problem is extensive sitting. And when we sit, our hip flexors tighten and shorten, which causes a whole lot of trouble for our body – lower back pain, knee joint discomfort; imbalance of muscle strength, posture problems, and even a difference in leg length.
Start Every Morning With a Good Stretch
From your thigh bone to your hip bone, your hip flexors are hard at work helping your body perform at its best. So why not help it? Get into the habit of starting each and every day with a warm-up. Instead of sitting down on the couch to watch your favorite news program, stand up and stretch.
A foam roller is inexpensive, and can be a great way to stretch out your hip flexors, and only takes a few minutes to do. Facing the floor, lie down and use your elbows for support with your foam roller above your knees. Slowly, begin to move back and forth, and tilt your movements towards your hip flexors. Starting the day – and ending the day – exercising your flexors will allow you to maximize strength throughout your entire body. Eliminate back pain, run faster, and have correct posture as a result.
Hip Flexor Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Strengthening your hip flexors can be caused just by placing a controlled amount of stress on this important muscle group. Stretch your hip flexors and upper thigh muscles (your back too!) with lunges and squats. If you struggle with back pain, finish off your stretching by arching your back (slowly) in a standing position. Now, come to the floor and place your knees and hands, palm down. Arch your back up and down as if you are imitating a cat, and lastly, come all the way down in child’s pose.
An underrated muscle group, it has the power to impact how good our body feels, or doesn’t. Want to feel better, from head to toe? Start every day by strengthening your hip flexors and beat the body blues!*Foam roller photo courtesy of Amazon.com