How to Keep Thigh Muscles From Tightening Up When Sitting for Long Periods

Sneak past other passengers to stretch your aching thighs on an airplane.
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A long-winded conference, a cross-country flight and a doctor’s order for complete bed rest are three very different activities -- and yet they all involve the same unfortunate problem. You’re stuck in one position for far too long, which often leaves you feeling fatigued, achy, tight, sore and quite grumpy. But even if you're required to perch on your perky behind for long periods of time, a few simple tricks can keep your thighs from tightening up.

    Step 1

    Take a hint from a nurse and wear a pair of compression stockings. The tight-fitting hosiery encourages blood to circulate through your thighs -- so they’ll feel much less achy and fatigued after sitting for so long. Just make sure you choose a pair that extends over your thighs -- a full pair of hose or thigh-high stockings will do the trick.

    Step 2

    Get up and move -- even if you only have a small space available. If you’re on an airplane, walk up and down the aisle. If you’re in a cramped meeting space or conference room, just walk to the back of the room and stand for a few minutes. Whatever you do, just find a way to move your legs every hour.

    Step 3

    Stretch those quivering quads. If you feel your thighs starting to get tight, stand up and give them a quick stretch. While standing, lift your right leg behind you, bend your knee and grab onto your ankle with your right hand. You should feel the sweet stretch along the front of your thigh. Hold for about five seconds and then repeat on the other side.

    Step 4

    Use isometric contractions when you’re stuck in your seat. With this type of exercise, you contract the muscle without actually changing the leg’s position -- so it’s easily performed in a small, cramped space. Contract the inner thigh muscles and hold them tight for about five seconds. Repeat 10 times. Then, move onto the outer thigh muscles and back thigh muscles.

    Step 5

    Stay hydrated -- and not with soft drinks, coffee or the free champagne offered in first class. Water is the clear winner in the beverage competition, so make sure your trusty water bottle tags along on your trip. Water keeps your skin and muscles hydrated and helps flush blood and toxins through your system.


    • Although simple interventions can often prevent or appease tight thigh muscles, they can't correct actual injuries with the muscle. If you experience excessive pain or discomfort in your thighs after sitting for a long period of time, seek medical attention. Additionally, you should also consult your physician if thigh tightness begins to interrupt your normal daily life -- your doctor may be able to provide a long-term treatment option.

    Things You'll Need

    • Compression hosiery

    • Water

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