How does a sitting desk job affect my running performance?

There are many reasons why prolonged sitting is bad for running. Lets just discuss a couple of reasons .

When you sit you are placing your hip flexors in a shortened position. With running the hip flexors need to shorten and lengthen. These muscles help lift your leg up with running (in this phase they are going from a lengthened to shortened position). The hip flexor muscles flexibility and mobility allow for full stride with running they lengthen when you are pushing off from your forefoot.

This presents a few problems when these muscles become too tight from sitting they become 1) dysfunctional in and of themselves, 3) they affect the job of the antagonizing muscles (muscles on the opposite side) and 3) they affect the surrounding muscles. Just to present 3 problems in this blog.

The psoas muscle(one of the biggest hip flexor muscles) connects to the thigh bone and vertebra (front of your spine). When this muscles is shortened it is going to affect the function of the muscle in BOTH the the shortened and lengthened position. Shortened hip flexors will not allow your long hip bone past your torso(pelvis/back). So, you either won’t get the leg as far back or you will take it from your back(in essence you will be arching/back bending) with every stride to get your leg back further. This will compress your spine and will increase stress at lower back/pelvis.

When your hip flexor muscles are shortened, it is also dysfunctional. What causes the shortening is muscles fibers being  This tightness can cause restriction in bring the leg up into a

And if you just don’t get your femur bone/long hip bone back as far then this will decrease your stride length and change your mechanics up the chain to focus more in the front chain vs. posterior chain (inability to use your gluteus maximus and hamstrings to full potential) – which can cause other problems!

Not to mention if your psoas is so tight it can act to stabilize your torso/lumbosacral/lower back area and therefore causing your deep core to chill out and not work for you. This is another topic, but having a strong deep core is something no one can afford to lose! Yikes! I know that’s a lot of information but here are some solutions.

Some simple solutions to avoid overly tight hip flexors at the desk are: 1) walk at lunch 2) stretch hip flexors every hour 3) focus posterior chain – some deadlifts every hour 4) Butt squeezes
And if you are too tight you are going to need some manual body work and neuromuscular re-education to get you going in right direction.

Dr. Jeanie