To release the tension built up in the muscles, you need to spend a few minutes each day stretching to elongate them. This will ease the pain in your hips, and may also prevent future injury because this pain can easily lead to pain in your back.
The American Council on Exercise, a leading educator of fitness professionals, recommends and describes the following three stretches for anyone sitting for prolonged periods. Hold and breathe through the stretches for 30 seconds and, if possible, do these twice daily.
Stretch 1: Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Begin in a single-leg kneeling position with the right foot in front and kneeling on the left knee. Maintain a neutral spine and contract the left glute to stretch the left hip flexor. If you're able, deepen this stretch by gradually shifting the hips forward.
Stretch 2: Piriformis stretch
Begin in a hands-and-knees position, placing the hands underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips. Cross your right foot over your left and shift your hands over to the right. Gradually begin shifting your weight over to your right hip, lower the hip toward the floor until you feel a stretch. Resist the temptation to shift the glutes back and sit toward the heels.
Stretch 3: Quadratus lumborum stretch
Begin on your back with your feet on the floor and knees toward the ceiling, with the arms extended out to the sides of the body, palms facing up. Cross the right leg over the left leg and slowly lower both legs to the left, holding this position for 30 seconds. Keeping the legs crossed, slowly move the legs to the center and then lower the legs to the right.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.