Desk jobs can leave your body feeling stiff, even if you spend your lunch break trying to get your steps in.
While we can't change your job, we can suggest some stretches to break up the time you spend at your desk, and help keep your muscles strong and your joints healthy.
Enter fitness trainers Jason and Lauren Pak and their five-minute hip mobility routine. To increase strength and range of motion around the joint, it targets surrounding muscles such as the quadriceps and hip flexors which can tighten as a result of too much sitting down.
There are easier and harder modifications for each exercise, and for the easier variations you won't need any equipment other than a yoga mat. However, keep a light kettlebell handy in case you want to try any of the more advanced moves.
You can find the routine in the video below. Watch carefully as they demonstrate each movement — whether you're strength training or working on your mobility, form is always paramount.
Watch Jason and Lauren Pak's hip-strengthening routine
This routine contains just five moves and it only takes five minutes to do. You'll perform each move for 30 seconds on one leg, 30 seconds on the other leg, then progress to the next one until you've finished the first four.
For the fifth movement — the toe touch squat — you only need to do five repetitions to complete the routine.
But why take the time to do a hip mobility routine?
Your hips do more for your fitness than you might realize, and strengthening them can lead to better stability, balance and posture. You'll even improve the way you move and reduce your risk of injury.
Weak hip flexors may also be linked to lower back and knee pain, so if you want to keep these issues at bay then make strengthening your hips a priority.
Now, we realize that hip flexor exercises may not have the same appeal as a leg workout or arm session, which can both make a difference to what you see in the mirror, but this type of functional strength training can make a big difference to how you feel.
This is a training style that builds strength which benefits you in everyday life, whether you're standing up from a chair or picking a heavy box off the floor while moving house.
The Pak's routine can also be used as an exercise snack, short enough to slip into your day without disrupting your wider plans, but still providing tangible health benefits.
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Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea.
Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.
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