This article originally appeared in Well+Good.
Sitting at a desk for long periods of time—the way many of us do on a daily basis—creates a chain reaction throughout your body. The combination of hunching over your laptop and putting pressure on your lower body for hours on end spells bad news for your hips, which is why it’s extra important to stretch them out on the reg. While it can be hard to find time between Zoom meetings to get on the mat to give them the TLC they need, there are plenty of seated hip stretches you can do to melt away tension without having to get up from your chair.
“When we are sitting [at a desk] all day, our iliopsoas muscle is shortened, which bunches up the muscles in the hips and makes them weaker, and can cause the lower back to overcompensate and cause severe back pain,” says Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon based in NYC. “Having poor posture can also make your hips stiff and tight because it puts more pressure on your hips than necessary, and this stiffness and tightness can cause swelling, pain, and tenderness in the hips.”