Hamstring stiffness when sitting – how to avoid it
A common myth is that our hamstrings only get tight and stiff after exercise. In this video we are going to share with you how to avoid hamstring stiffness when sitting.
Are you sitting for hours in the day?
In today’s world, another more prevalent cause than over exercising, is sitting for hours in the day. The sitting action causes hamstrings to stiffen up, especially over long periods of time. For most desk workers, sitting for 6-8 hours a day is not uncommon.
Do you find yourself:
- Sitting in bed reading?
- At a desk, studying or working?
- On your phone or hand held device while sitting?
- In the car or public transport for more than an hour a day?
Sitting is not normal:
It’s difficult to avoid sitting entirely throughout your day and as much as we consider sitting quite normal, our bodies were not designed to sit for long periods of time. To avoid hamstring stiffness we want to avoid long periods of time spent sitting down.
Why is sitting straining your hamstrings:
Here are 2 reasons why you should reduce sitting time:
1. Shortened hamstrings:
We know sitting down can affect our low back, but what about our hamstrings? When we are sitting down our legs are bent which means the hamstrings are put in a shortened position. Overtime the hamstrings become accustomed to this shortness, so when we stand up and lengthen our hamstrings, our hamstrings feel tighter just from standing up!
2. Weak gluteals and quadriceps:
The second battle our hamstrings face is the impacts prolonged sitting has on our gluteal and quadriceps muscles. Weak gluteals are a common finding among people who sit for long periods of time. When our gluteals are weak, this makes our hamstrings work double time to pick up the slack, leaving them overworked and more vulnerable to injury.
Things to consider to avoid hamstring stiffness:
- Get up and stand and walk every 30-50 minutes to break up the time spent sitting and to actively lengthen your hamstrings
- Regular stretching and/or yoga to encourage flexibility in the hamstrings
- Pay attention to your sitting and standing posture, try to maintain a neutral spine alignment. Chronically tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis down into a posterior tilt.
- Consider using a lumbar support while sitting to maintain good alignment in the low back and a neutral pelvis
Lisa Smycz, chiropractor
If you would like to know more about what ideal posture looks like, then CLICK HERE.