Are you hitting 10 000 steps a day? 90% of people may even think they do, when in reality, they barely cover 5000. Today’s lives are dangerously sedentary-based, and our poor sacrum and hips take on all the suffering.
We sit in the morning when we have our first coffee of the day, we sit in our car when driving to work, we sit in the office (or home office) from 8-5, we sit in our car to go back home or somewhere else after work, and we sit in front of our TV when we Netflix & Chill ourselves to sleep.
The very unnatural L shape our bodies spend the majority of the time in has taken over our lives, and it’s no wonder we start developing lower back pains and hip issues pretty early on. Even though it’s hard, and sometimes impossible, to change our routines, there are ways to help alleviate some pain and prevent chronic issues. Read on for effective stretches which can do the trick!
Downward Facing Dog
This simple and easy pose is one of the best possible stretches to incorporate into your morning or evening routine. In the morning it can prepare your body for the day and help you maintain mobility in the hips, and in the evening, it works on increasing blood flow, creating space in between the vertebrae, preventing pinched nerves, and bringing an overall feeling of release. Keep your palms firmly pressed into the ground and use them as leverage to literally “push” your hips as far away from you as possible. Gently move your hips left and right, and alternate between bending and extending your knees.
Wide Legged Twist
Getting a bit deeper into releasing the hips and lower back, this gentle twist stimulates and improves digestion, stretches out the ligaments surrounding the sacrum, and works on the outer side of the hips. Bringing the torso right in center in between your legs, walk your hands forward, until you feel your bodyweight shifting towards the balls of your feet without lifting your heels. This is the perfect vertical position of the legs which leave the hips feeling lighter and easier to manipulate. Place one palm in the center and slowly, keeping your hips squared, lift the other arm up towards the sky. If it’s ok for your neck, gaze to the side or up towards your extended palm. Release your neck and send your shoulders away from your ears, creating a chest lift and getting into a deeper stretch by breathing and actively “growing” from your grounded palm.
Seated Side Stretch
Releasing the sacrum means we need to pay attention to all the muscles and fascia surrounding our bones. By isolating them as much as possible, we can get the most effective results. Making sure both sitting bones are on the floor, bend one knee and place your palm on, or next to the extended leg. Use the palm as leverage to straighten the spine as much as possible without lifting your sitting bones, and raise the opposite arm. Keeping the shoulders away from the ears and your hips squared, gently lean towards the extended leg. Use the inhales to grow taller from your seat and exhales to lean more, stretching out the whole side body, including the hip. Come to center to reset before switching up your legs position and starting on the opposite side.
Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold
Although this pose requires lots of attention and tolerance, it’s irreplaceable when it comes to releasing the sacrum. For beginners, this pose may seem pretty unattainable, but that’s where modifications come in handy. Sit with your legs spread wide, making sure your feet are pointed or flexed and activated. If, and only if your spine is straight, place your palms on the floor in front of you. In case you can’t maintain a straight spine, sit next to a wall, or place your palms behind you, using them as leverage to push yourself into a vertical line. With a straight spine and palms in front of you, use inhales to “grow tall” from your sitting bones and exhales to walk your hands a bit forward. When you’ve reached your edge (your spine starts curving in), stay here and just breathe. Slowly, over time, your hands will be able to walk a tiny bit further. Be patient with yourself and your body.
Bridge & One-Legged Bridge
A good combination of active & passive stretching will help the sacrum in the long run, as we’ll strengthen the muscle tie-ins and secure the ligaments. This pose is great to perform in the morning as a warm-up to our whole day, as well as in the evening to specifically work on hip flexors and glutes. Start by lifting the hips up, knees hip-width apart and feet firmly pressing into the floor. You can use your hands as leverage to push yourself even higher, or you can place them under the sacrum and let it “fall” into your hands. From here, breathe, and work on relaxing your glutes and lower back and using your feet to push your hips higher. You can lift one leg and then the other to gently work on both sides equally because usually, we tend to lean on one side more and therefore, cause an even bigger imbalance.
Sitting is a form our poor bodies take a lot, and unfortunately, with the way we’re living, it looks like it’s going to get even worse in the future. We need to make sure we’re doing as much as we can to combat getting a tight sacrum and experiencing pains while we’re supposed to be in our prime years. By performing these exercises, we’re not only helping us with the consequences, but working on preventing them altogether.
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