If you’ve read anything about sitting in the health and fitness world you should know it’s anything but good for your. Typically the discussion revolves around increased compression on the low back, tight hip muscles, and “text neck.” However, what very few people are talking about is the long term damage our sedentary lifestyle has on the actual hip joint itself.
The Hip Joint
The joint is technically the space between two bones. Although there are different types of joints, your hips are synovial joints. The capsule of the joint holds your femur (upper leg bone) to your pelvis and allows it to move (articulate). Within this synovial joint capsule is the ultra important synovial fluid.
Motion is Lotion
Why is synovial fluid so important and what does sitting have to do with it all? Synovial fluid lubricates the surfaces of the joint and is extremely nutrient dense. The hip joint gets very little blood flow, so the way it stays health and receives nutrients is via synovial fluid. When you move the joint it acts as a tiny pump and moves this fluid around, consequently lubricating and feeding the joint to keep it healthy.
Chairs are like Tourniquets for the Joints
When you sit all day it’s similar to putting a medical tourniquet on a limb which is designed to stop blood flow. Sitting for too long and too often (which nobody ever does, right?) the pumping mechanism of the joint is not initiated enough and hip capsule is not “fed” and the surfaces are not lubricated for good movement.
Every metabolic process has byproducts. If you eat a meal you’ll need to use the restroom at some point, right? On a smaller biochemical scale the process of feeding and keeping your hips moving smoothly produces waste products you don’t want to keep in your hip. Decreased movement will inhibit the pumping action we just discussed and hinder removing the waste built up in the joint. This can be an important factor in joint inflammation in the short and long term.
What to do?
The human body was meant to walk often. When I say often I actually mean all of the time. That can be tough for some people in this day and age. A good start is to set a goal of 10 minutes extra each day.
Joint circles are a quick and easy option to rotate your joints through as large of a range of motion as possible. Most joints are meant to rotate and linear movements (like running) don’t completely fit the bill. Just make sure that when you’re doing a hip circle you don’t “cheat” by moving your back and other parts of your body to make up for your hip.
Watch what you eat. Obviously diet is important, but inflammatory foods like gluten can add to the problem, too.
For a full hip mobility program check out reduxmvmt.com