It’s no secret that our society is very sedentary. The rise in office jobs has led to more and more people sitting down at their desks for the majority of the day. This, of course, can lead to tight muscles especially in the hips and legs. One muscle that can be particularly affected by this is the quadricep - or quad, for short.
As is evidenced by their name, the quadricep is a group of four muscles that is found on the front of the thigh. Quads are big and obvious muscles that have a huge bearing on your knee and hip health because they touch both joints. The quads help both joints function correctly.
Because the majority of us are sitting for long periods of time, this naturally puts the quadriceps in a contracted position. Over time, these muscles can become shortened from being in that contracted position. When this happens, the quads can start to pull on the other joints which causes pain - whether it be in the back, hip, or knee.
Needless to say, the quads are an important muscle group. They are relatively big and can impact so many other joints. If they are tight or shortened, it is almost guaranteed that you will experience some sort of pain or discomfort. You might not notice how tight they are because it can slowly add up over time. But before long, you might find that your knee is more achy or your hips are tighter than you’re used to. More often than not, this can be attributed to tight quads.
Of course, the most trusted way to know that tight quads are the cause for your pain is to consult your doctor or physical therapist. They will be able to accurately diagnose what exactly is causing the issues that you’re experiencing. This is a good step to take to ensure that the problem is nothing more serious.
If there is an upside about any of this, it’s this point...tight quads can most definitely be remedied with some simple, consistent stretching! That being said, ease into your practice. Never try to force stretches and always listen to your body. Start with an optimistic sense of caution and always remember to breathe! As silly as it sounds, taking nice, deep breaths as you stretch will help your body remain calm and find the appropriate stretch depth without straining anything.
If you do find yourself sitting throughout the majority of the day, there are some things you can do to help. First would be to take movement breaks if possible. Set an alarm on your phone every hour. When it goes off, take a quick lap or two around the office. Relieve your quads from being in that contracted position for long stretches of time. Another tip is to stand when possible. Maybe you can get a standing desk or take phone calls while standing or walking. Find places in your day that allow you to stand up and move. As simple as it sounds, this can be truly effective in allowing the quads to lengthen.
And when you’re ready to implement your stretching routine, use these exercise below to loosen your quads and MoveWell.