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If you suffer from an achy lower back you are not alone. Low back pain is one of the most common health complaints in the US with around 80 percent of Americans experiencing it sometime in their lives. One of the culprits creating pain might just be our sedentary lifestyle. As a nation we sit a lot! Be it at a desk, in a car, or in front of the TV, all this sitting makes for tight hips. From my time teaching Pilates, I can tell you that tight hips lead to low back pain. The reasons are varied, but sitting can create muscle imbalances, like dormant butt syndrome, where tight hips can interfere with the glutes working. Sitting also creates tight muscles around the hip joint — one in particular, the psoas, connects the upper thigh bone (aka femur) to the lower spine. When tight, this powerful hip flexor pulls on the spine and aggravates it.

On top of all this sitting, some of our favorite activities, like running and cycling, also make for tight hips. As a preventative measure, it is time to start regularly stretching all of the muscles around the hip joint, since I firmly believe happy and loose hips help your spine.

Keep scrolling for six stretches I recommend doing consistently. The best time to stretch is after working out — and that workout can be walking, which is also great for tender lower backs — since warm muscles are more elastic.

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