7 Reasons Why Standing is Awesome (and sitting is not): Reason #5

by Dr. David Sloan, D.C., DIBCN, FIACN and Dr. Heather Sloan, D.C.

Standing maintains stability in the hip joints

Sitting pulls the psoas muscle and causes tension in the lumbar spine

Dr. Heather:

The damaging body mechanic process that occurs with sitting is tension in the psoas muscle, one of the major hip flexor muscles that connect the upper and lower body. When seated, the psoas muscle pulls and causes tension and restriction in the lumbar spine. This process can create instability in the hip joints which also leads to knee problems, tight calves and restriction in the ankles. And that is just in the lower body. One thing people can do is stand up more than they sit down. Another thing that helps is sitting in a cross-legged position to open hip joints. When possible, sit on the floor, couch or chairs in this position, rather than with legs hanging.

Dr. Dave:

The hip joints need to bend (flex and extend), move in and out (abduct and adduct) and rotate. All of these actions should be free and easy. When one of these movements is held for a majority of the time (usually flexion) it is at the detriment of the other movements.

Rotation in particular is necessary for stability. We will go into this in depth in a future post. If you lose the ability to rotate, you cannot stabilize your hips. This causes muscle substitutions. You will overuse the muscles that flex and extend in exchange for rotation. Unfortunately, this leads to increased joint compression and decreased range of motion. Just like the discs of your spine [link to 3rd post], all of the joints of your body require movement to move nutrition in and waste out of the joints. Lack of movement, lack of nutrition, and increased joint compression will lead to increased wear and tear and eventually arthritis.

So, let’s make sure we’re keeping our hip joints moving by taking regular breaks, standing when we can, and not keeping our muscles in one position for too long. That way, we’ll be able to move our hips in all the ways they’re supposed to move and maintain stability. We’ll see next week how this concept applies to our upper body as well as our lower. Stay tuned!


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