In Your Prime: Move for happier hips

Between the time we spend commuting, working at the office, sitting down for meals, and enjoying a few episodes of our favorite TV show, the average American spends one-third to half of each day sitting.

While the jury is still out on just how much sitting negatively affects our health, experts agree that we need to move more and sit less.

Why it hurts

Prolonged and frequent sitting can tighten and shorten your hip flexors, one of the strongest muscle groups in the body. This muscle group connects the lower limb, pelvis, and abdomen. So over time, tight hip flexors can result in incorrect posture, knee and shin pain, back pain, and even foot or shoulder pain.

If you have leg or back pain, your tight hips and siting too much could be to blame.

What you can do

Exercise doesn’t necessarily balance the effects of sitting all day, so swap sitting for moving and standing as much as possible. If you work at a desk all day, here are a few ways to change your workplace habits to get in more movement.

  • Stand up when you take a phone call or eat lunch.
  • Elevate your desk with a standing desk if you work at a desk for long periods of time. If that’s not possible, try a high table or countertop.
  • Walk laps around your office or building during meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
  • Take the stairs instead of relying on the elevator.
  • Park on the edge of the parking lot so you get in a few more steps going to and from your car.

A deeper problem

Some pain could be caused by issues with your hip bones, not just the muscles around them. If constant joint pain is limiting your everyday life, it may be time to consider surgery.

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