Sitting down more than ever (be it at your desk or simply from staying indoors) can wreak havoc on your hips. Try these simple stretches to help.

As we’re out less and less due to the lockdown, and with only one walk a day, it’s only natural to feel we’re seizing up or holding too much tension in our bodies. And while we may know the effects sitting all day can have on our backs and the discomfort in our necks, we may not be aware of the tension our hips may be holding.

If our hips don’t get the attention they deserve, this can lead to some long-term implications. Sitting down for long periods can reduce mobility and shorten our hip flexors, which over time can potentially cause significant issues elsewhere.

What’s more, since our hips are at the base of our spine, muscle tightness can contribute to back pain. Other issues include knee pain, tight hamstrings and glutes all from stiff hips. These four stretches can help alleviate any pain or tension, leading to greater mobility and flexibility. Try them at home now!

1. Quad stretch

For this pose you need to have good balance, but feel free to use a wall or chair to hold onto if you need some extra support. From a standing position, bring your left heel up towards your glutes and hold it in your hand. Making sure to push the hips gently and slowly forwards, pull your foot towards your glute until you feel a stretch in your quads. This will help to release the hips and combat stiffness. Repeat on the other leg and hold each pose for ten to 15 seconds.

2. Forward fold

Start from a seated position and place the heel of your foot out in front of you, preferably on a footrest, box or low shelf to add to the stretch. Flex the top of the foot toward you, and then bend forwards at the hip until you can feel a stretch down your leg. To increase the stretch, you can reach your hands down towards your flexed foot. Repeat this on both sides and hold for ten seconds.

3. Lunge

Begin by kneeling on the floor with the rest of your body straight. You can use a small pillow or towel if it hurts to knee on your floor and for extra support. Then pick up your left leg and place your foot on the floor in front of you, so the leg forms a 90 degree angle. Once you’re in position, you can start to slowly move your torso and knee forwards, keeping your hips pushed slightly forwards and your buttocks tucked in underneath. Wait until you feel a slight stretch in your right hip and along your calf, and hold the position there for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

4. Glute bridge dips

Start this activation stretch by lying on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and your arms down by your sides. Then tense your abdominal muscles and glutes to raise your buttocks off the floor, until they come into alignment with the rest of your body. Hold the pose for around 20 seconds, then lower yourself back to your starting position and repeat a few times. Then, try on your other side. This will stretch out everything from your hips to your hamstrings, as well as help to strengthen your core.

Looking for more stretches? Try these at-home exercises to strengthen your joints.