We're all working from home these days and dealing with social distancing, juggling family responsibilities, meal prep, and a million other things — so taking care of our health and wellness is especially important. We’ve asked our friend, Women's Life & Health Mentor, Carmen Ohling, and her Massage Therapist husband, Joal Traynor, to give us the low down on the best stretches you can do on short a break away from your desk to help open up muscles made tight from too much sitting.
Pain in the hip, buttocks, and low back area is associated with poor hip flexibility and imbalance. This is true with running, hiking, and prolonged sitting, causing an increase in low back tension or pain.
We often then try and stretch the muscles we think are the cause of the tension or pain and end up overstretching the wrong muscles. For example, have you ever experienced sitting for long periods at a time, then when you stand up there may be tightness in the low back or stomach area that grabs you making you pause before standing up completely straight? You think the solution is a good stretch to release that tension, so you reach up to the sky and extend (lean) back. Then you bend forward at the waist to stretch the back of your legs (hamstrings), which feels good, but when you stand up there is that tension again.
With prolonged sitting, running, or hiking, we utilize our hip flexors, which make up 75% of the hip muscles. Bending forward overstretches your hamstring muscles which can lead to chronic fatigue and a decrease in strength. To correct this imbalance, put more emphasis on stretching your quads and hip flexors and decrease the emphasis on stretching the hamstrings. This will help to balance the body better.
And remember, proper hydration plays a very big role in muscle health. So hydrate throughout the day.
Here are four simple stretches you can do to help reduce tension in the low back and hips:
• Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
• Stretch both the right and left sides equally.
• Repeat each stretch three times, increasing the stretch each time using your breath.
Lateral Lunge Stretch
Lunge Stretch (knee down)
Hip Opener Stretch (lying on back)
Side-Lying Quad Stretch
For a video demonstration, CLICK HERE.
Carmen Ohling, is a Holistic Nutritionist, Empowerment Coach, Transformational Speaker, Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, & Fitness model. Visit Carmenohling.com for more info.
Joal Traynor, LMT, is a Licensed Massage Therapist in Colorado Springs and specializes in mobility health and healing. Visit Joaltraynor.com for more info.