Hips. Such an important part of our body, yet as we age, one of the first joints to feel pain. How can we take care of our hips now to prevent future discomfort?
A few years back while training for the Marine Corps Marathon (which I will NEVER run 26.2 miles again in this lifetime. Kudos to the long distance runners of the world), I injured my right hip. From the repetitive motion of walking/running while training to complete the distance, I strained my hip flexor.
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that move the thigh forward and up. A motion we use constantly while walking. It can take several months for your hip flexors to recover from injury. In the meantime, I started overcompensating and putting more pressure on my left hip. All of this left me with both hips out of alignment and causing pain.
Recently I've noticed since we have been social isolating I am sitting more than usual. Many of us are. Unfortunately, when we sit too much, it can cause our hip muscles to become tighter and weaker. The result? My hip pain has returned. What is happening? The same issue I dealt with several years ago. I recognized instantly what was going on as I am probably more aware of the cause since it was something I had already dealt with.
Some of you, though, may not know where this new hip pain is coming from. So how do you fix it? The best thing you can do is to make a conscious effort to move more throughout the day. That's right. Get up and get moving especially when you don't want to. The simple movements of walking will loosen up your hips.
In addition to walking, stretching exercises similar to those in yoga and pilates will help not only alleviate the pain in your hips, but will also strengthen the muscles that hold your hips in place in your pelvis.
You can do the following hip exercises standing holding on to a chair as we do in Senior Sweat & Tone classes or lying on a mat:
• Straight leg raises forward.
• Straight leg raises to the side.
• Straight leg exercises to the back. (On your hands and knees if on the mat.)
• Leg circles with straight legs.
Remember to engage your core (think of pulling in your belly to zip up your jeans) and tuck your pelvis. Poor posture also contributes to hip pain and is something we also need to focus on as we age. Repeating the four exercises above, focusing on your posture plus moving more throughout the day will go along way toward strengthening the muscles that support your hips. Have an amazing week.
To your health,
Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at DeniseSanger.com or HowToStayFitOver50.com, 386-292-6105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.