Three satisfying hip stretches you need to try if you spend all day sitting down

Undo the damage of your desk job with this simple routine

Man doing hip stretches in a yoga class
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The human body isn’t designed to spend long periods sitting down, but a lot of us are stuck at our desks all day because of our jobs. Doing this can put unnecessary pressure on our lower back and hips, leading to aches, pains, and stiffness. 

Yoga instructor and personal trainer Emily Mouu recently shared a simple stretching routine for people looking to offset the damage of spending hours in a chair.

"The lower body can get very tight after sitting for long periods," Mouu tells Fit&Well. "The hip flexors shorten and tighten and the glutes switch off completely."

This routine features three stretches that open up the hips and relieve stiffness in the lower back, so it should provide some immediate relief. But it's best to incorporate these moves into your routine regularly, along with some hip-strengthening exercises, if you want to improve hip function and alleviate aches and pains. 

Watch Emily Mouu's three-move stretching routine

You don't need any equipment to do this routine and it should only take a few minutes, so it's a great one to do at the start of the day to wake up your muscles. Or do it on your lunch break to relieve stiffness after a morning at your desk. Move in and out of each stretch for a minute to experience the benefits.

Benefits of this routine

All the movements in this routine are dynamic stretches, which means you move in and out of them rather than just holding the stretch. This will increase the range of motion around the joints and improve flexibility.

"When you sit, your hips are flexed and when your hips are flexed, the muscles of the hips shorten," Mou says. She explains that stretching might combat this, but you should also do strengthening exercises to boost your hip health. 

Try to do these exercises at least a few times a week, daily if possible and you should start to see improvements in how your hips and back feel during the working day.

Need some supportive cushioning for your stretching routine? Our guide to the best yoga mats can help

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.