5-Minute Hip Stretches That Will Loosen Tight Thighs, Back and Leg Muscles
As we age, hip and joint injuries happen more frequently and cause problems with mobility. In our advancing years, mobility and exercise becomes more and more important for our overall health and keep our bodies young.
By just doing simple hip stretches and hip exercises, we can decrease our risk of injury and discomfort as well as keep our mobility up. Here are some simple stretches and exercises you can do every day to keep you feeling healthy and active.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Seated Butterfly Stretch
To start, sit on the floor or on a mat with your legs folded in front of you and the soles of your feet touching. Bend forward from the hips while keeping your back straight until you start feeling tension and hold for 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. To help keep the position, hold your ankles. Don’t push past this point as you could cause yourself injury.
The pigeon pose is one of the most effective stretches for opening up your hips. Begin on all fours and slowly bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right hand. Position your ankle in front of your left hip, your leg should be perpendicular to the rest of your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Weighted Hip Extension
This stretch works to strengthen glutes and lengthen the hip flexors. Lie on your back and bend your knees keeping the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Place a comfortable weight on the lower part of your abdomen and hold it there with your hands. Raise your butt and lower back off the floor while keeping your feet, upper back, and head on the ground. Repeat 10 times.
This exercise is quite similar to the weighted hip extension, except it doesn’t involve any weight. This stretch is perfect to perform after the weighted hip extension because although there is no weight, there is still resistance due to your hip flexors being tired. Perform this stretch as many times as possible being careful not to harm yourself.
Hip Joint Strength Exercises
Water exercises or water aerobics work great to strengthen your hips. The resistance of the water works as effectively as weights but allows for a better range of movement. The buoyancy also puts less strain on your joints while performing these exercises.
Walking can be done in or out of water and works to strengthen worn hip joints. Proper walking shoes are essential when walking outdoors to protect your joints from injury. Start slow and with small distances at first. As you begin to be more comfortable, increase your pace and distance to keep progressing in strength.
Seated Hip External Rotator
Sitting on a bench or a chair, lift your left leg straight in front of you. With your right leg, rotate at the knee bringing the inside of your right foot underneath your left leg and hold for two seconds. Repeat this movement 10 times before switching legs. Use an exercise band around the rotating foot to help hold the exercise.
Standing Hip Flexor
This exercise also requires an exercise band. Place one end of the band around an anchor and the other end around your right foot. To start, turn away from the anchor and slowly lift your knee to your chest while keeping your back straight. Repeat this movement 10 times with each leg. As your progress, step farther from the anchor to increase resistance.
Performing these stretches and exercises on a regular basis can strengthen your hip joints and make you more flexible which works to prevent injury. These exercises can be done in 10 minutes for a lifetime of mobility and good health.