Stiff hip flexors are bad news for your back. The muscles are attached to your pelvis, so when they’re tight, they tilt your pelvis forward. That makes your butt stick out and your spine curve into a backwards “C,” jamming your vertebrae together, Gaddour says.
And if your quads are tight, they’ll pull on the tendon that connects them to your kneecap when you try to bend your knee. That can cause knee pain.
That’s why Gaddour does this move right at the gate before and after he flies. It stretches both your hip flexors and your quads at the same time to ease the stiffness caused by sitting. You might attract some weird looks, but it’ll be worth it when you arrive at your destination pain-free.
DO THIS: Stand with your back to a chair and your knees slightly bent. Place your right knee as far back on the seat as you can comfortably, with your right foot propped up against the seatback. Keeping your spine neutral, your shoulders down, and your abs braced, contract your right glute muscles. You’ll immediately feel your right hip flexors stretch. Hold the position for two to five minutes, and repeat on the left side. Do this before and after your flight.
(To stay fit during your trip, try this 12-Minute Hotel Room Workout.)