The tight, sore feeling can simply be due to not moving enough, Cameron Yuen, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S., senior physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, tells SELF.
When you’re sitting in the same position for too long, the nerve compression can cause a numb butt or that lovely pins-and-needles sensation. “If your chair has a sharp edge, the nerves tend to get irritated more quickly,” says Yuen. “Numbness, however, is usually due to compression of the nerves that run near the glute muscles on the back of the hip. Just like the muscle, these nerves need movement and blood flow.”
Short-term, spending too much time sitting on your butt can make you feel really stiff in the muscles in front of your hips, or your hip flexors. This puts you in a position where the tightened, shortened muscles pull your pelvis forward, causing your lower back to hyperextend, or arch, Yuen explains.
“These resulting postures aren’t necessarily harmful, but if you lose your ability to get out of them, you’re more likely to develop low-back and hip pain.” Basically, the more chronically tight your hip flexors are, the easier it’ll be to slip into this arched-back position subconsciously. And over time it won’t feel great.
Spending too much time sitting can decrease your hip and lower-back mobility. That can add up to a whole lot of tightness and potential issues with range of motion and mobility, both during everyday activities and workouts.
This tightness can also increase the chance you might pull something if you decide to hop out of your chair and go right into a run or intense HIIT session at the end of the day. “It’s possible that you might strain a muscle or compensate at a different joint due to a lack of mobility at the hips,” Yuen says. “Usually, if the hips are stiff, the lower back suffers first.”
To combat that hip tightness and glute soreness, you should aim to stand up for a quick 5-to-10-minute movement break every hour, Yuen suggests. Butt stretches (to loosen your glutes and the surrounding muscles) can help too. Yuen put together the stretch routine below. Add it to your day, either during one of your quick movement breaks, or at the end of the day, to get the blood flowing and keep your muscles feeling good.
Demoing the moves below are Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., creator of Le Stretch class (GIFs 1, 2, and 3); Devon Stewart, a yoga instructor based in NYC’s Harlem (GIF 4); Shanna Tyler, a New York–based yoga instructor (GIF 5); and Caitlyn Seitz (GIF 6), a New York–based group fitness instructor and singer/songwriter.
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