Stretch to lengthen the hip flexors.
Sitting all day not only has an impact on your backside but also on your front. The hip flexor muscles, which consist of the iliacus and the psoas -- commonly referred to as the iliopsoas -- are located on the front of your hips. They attach your hips and spine to your thigh bones. In today's modern society, inactivity is a problem and can result in short, tight muscles. Performing a variety of stretches for the iliopsoas on a regular basis will help keep your muscles long and supple.
The Sit Trap
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to shortened and tight hip flexor muscles. If you neglect to counter lengthy sitting with physical activity and flexibility training, you may end up with low back pain and a pelvis that refuses to remain in the neutral position, according to ACE Fit. A pelvis that tips forward can lead to a host of other problems such as hip, knee or ankle problems. Although it's common in sedentary individuals, they are not the only ones who can suffer from tight hip flexors -- runners and cyclists, who repetitively use the muscles, also share the dilemma.
Persistance Pays Off
To make up for all the sitting done throughout the day, stretching your hip flexor muscles is something that can and should be done regularly, ideally on a daily basis, says ACE. Stretching during your lunch hour of after work can help you limber up and continue throughout your day. If you exercise regularly, stretch your hip flexors before and after your workout to reduce your risk of injury and to keep the muscles from getting even tighter.
Two For One
Dynamic hip flexor stretches are an efficient way to start a workout or just get your blood pumping. This type of high-energy stretching elongates the muscles while simultaneously preparing them for exercise. Leg swings, in which you stand with your side next to a wall or counter and swing one leg forward and back as far as possible several times before repeating with the other leg, is an effective stretch. Walking lunges and reverse lunges are also examples of dynamic hip flexor stretches.
Slow and Steady
If gentle stretches are more your style, give static stretches a go. However, you'll still need to do some type of warmup so that your muscles are prepared for stretching otherwise you may end up with an injury. Walk, jog or do jumping jacks for three to five minutes prior to stretching. Static hip flexor stretches include the kneeling hip flexor stretch and the supine hip flexor stretch. To perform the latter, lie face up on the floor and extend one leg straight out and press it into the floor. Bend the other leg and, using your arms, draw it toward your abdomen until you feel a mild stretch down the front of your extended hip. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds then repeat with the other leg.