Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Importance of Hip Health

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hip health is important, as the hip flexors are the central folding point of the body, stabilizing the lower body, and giving range of motion to the upper body. A typical workout may not focus enough attention on the hips, making them prone to injury and weakness. Poor hip health may lead to other health problems such as pain throughout the body, as well as an increased chance of injury.

Loosening Tight Hip Muscles and Gaining Flexibility

Tight hip muscles are a result of sitting for extended periods of time or working out without stretching the hips. There are several exercises that can be done to loosen hip muscles. One simple hip exercise is to position yourself in a lunge while gently stretching the hips forward until you feel a slight pull. Switch legs as necessary in order to get both hips loosened. Here are some other stretches that can benefit the hips:

Happy Baby Stretch

To do this stretch, lie on your back with bended knees, holding both ankles to your chest. Gently press both knees towards the floor while keeping your upper body relaxed. Breathe deeply in this position for 30 seconds.

Knee Hugging

Single and bilateral knee hugging can give a great stretch. While lying on your back, grab one or both knees to the chest until you feel a deep stretch in the hips. Breathe deeply in this position for 30 seconds. To add to this, while in the position of holding one knee to the chest, roll the knee from one side of the body to the other for 20 seconds.

Extended Wide Squat

Stand with your feet a foot apart and bend your knees, lowering your hips toward the ground. Keep your heels on the ground or use a towel to support them if they do not touch. Bringing your palms together, open your hips by pressing your elbows inside your knees. After 30 seconds in this position, walk your hands on the floor, increasing the stretch in the hips.

Cobra Pose

Lying on your stomach, press up with the arms until the arms are straight and your chest is facing forward. Let the pelvis drop while breathing deeply with your back arched.

Wide-Legged Split

Moving from the previous stretch, keep your hands on the floor, inching your feet apart from each other, while ensuring your heels are wider than your toes. While lowering your hips, use your forearms to prop yourself up, eventually moving down to your shoulders. Keeping the soles of your feet flat on the ground, breathe deeply in this position for 30 seconds.

Butterfly stretch

While sitting up straight with your shoulders back, bring the soles of your feet together and bend both knees. Gently press on the inside of both knees to create a deep stretch. Breathe deeply in this position for 30 seconds before gently leaning forward to deepen the stretch.

Hip Exercises and Knee Pain

Referred pain occurs when pain is experienced at a certain point in your body, but actually originates elsewhere. Knee pain is commonly originated in the hips. For example, runners often experience patellofemoral pain, which happens when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap while running. This can be avoided with hip strengthening exercises, as they increase the motion of the hip, maximizing the angles in which the hips are able to safely move.

Hip Strengthening Exercises

Knee Lifts

Lying on your side with your feet together and knees bent, lift the top knee as far as possible before bringing it back down to rest. Do 15 reps of this on each side.
While in this same position on your side, you can also pivot the foot up and down while the knee is raised to give a more intense exercise. Additionally, you can move the pivot to the heel while keeping the foot stationary.

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips up, creating a straight line from your knees to your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds and release the body back to the floor. Repeat this move five times.

The hips are vital ball-and-socket joints that need to be stretched and exercised on a regular basis in order to keep the body in good shape. Hip health can suffer greatly, especially for people who are typically sedentary. Spending a few minutes each day concentrating on hip strength and mobility will lead to stronger and more flexible hips.

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Frank Salvatore