Hip flexors are a group of muscles that contract to pull your thigh bone up and fold you into a sitting position. There are many muscles that contribute to this action but the major actors are the iliacus and the psoas, referred to collectively as the iliopsoas.
As with any muscle, if you contract the iliopsoas for a period of time it will become fatigued and you will feel sore, weak, or tight. This is one reason long we feel the urge to “stretch our legs” after long car rides. Over time, repeatedly contracting the iliopsoas can shorten the muscles and, in extreme cases, make it difficult to fully straighten your leg at the hip. Luckily standing up, walking, and back bending help to lengthen the iliopsoas and counteract the hours of sitting most of us do for a living.
I always find iliopsoas stretches satisfying and energizing. Combined with some gentle twists and back releases they’re a wonderful thing for a long day. And they’re easy. First, stretch and move your hip flexors by walking around every few hours. You’ve heard me say it, and I’ll say it again: take breaks during the work day. Walk around a little. Get yourself a glass of water from the cooler at the end of the hall. Second, don’t get tense. Lean back into your chair. Relax your muscles as much as possible while you’re sitting.
Sitting for a long time drains your energy and makes you feel less apt to be active. Stretching your iliopsoas throughout the day, and certainly before and after your commute, will help you stay refreshed and ready to move.