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Each year, an estimated 450,000 people undergo hip replacement surgery in the U.S. This statistic points to how prevalent problems with the hip muscles and joints are among older adults. If you suffer from hip pain or tight hips, you know firsthand how these problems can interfere with everyday activities, reducing your quality of life. The good news is that physical activity can ease pain and stiffness for many seniors. Getting into a regular stretching routine is one of the best ways to benefit your hips. In this post, we'll share some simple hip flexor stretches that you can incorporate into your workouts.
Hip stretches offer numerous benefits for seniors, including:
There are many hip stretches that you can add to your active lifestyle. Some require you to stand, while you can be lying down or in a seated position for others. Here is a roundup of some of our favorites for seniors to try.
Low lunges stretch out the quadricep muscles in the legs while opening up the hip flexors. When performed regularly, this exercise may help older adults increase the flexibility of their hip joints. To give it a try:
If this is too difficult, you can use the seat of a chair to support the front leg while resting your hand or arm on the chair for added support.
If you have tight hip flexors, this gentle stretch inspired by yoga practice may be an excellent way to promote hip mobility. To do it:
This gentle stretch promotes a fuller range of motion by strengthening the psoas muscles located in the lower back extending across the pelvis to the femurs in your legs. Not only are the psoas muscles essential for hip joint function, but they also play a role in helping you maintain your posture. Give it a try by following these steps:
At first, you may only be able to pull your knee into your chest. If this proves difficult, eliminate the twist in steps 4 and 9. As you continue practicing your hip exercises, you will likely build up the flexibility to incorporate the twist in the future.
The clam exercise is one to try if you're looking for simple hip stretches ideal for beginners. Not only is it easy, but it also targets the hip flexor muscles solely for more pronounced benefits. Here's how to do it.
This exercise can ease muscle tightness in the hips while strengthening the muscle tissue through the hip flexors for additional benefits. To practice it:
As you build strength, you can increase the difficulty of this hip exercise by wearing ankle weights.
The hip extension exercise is ideal for many beginners striving to increase mobility by lengthening and strengthening their hip flexors. To add this stretch to your workouts, follow these steps:
You can add ankle weights to increase the difficulty as you develop strong glutes, hips, and legs.
Hip circles are fun stretching exercises because they feel like dancing. They're a good idea if you're experiencing tightness through the hip area and want to strengthen your abs and lower back. To do them:
This stretch may help ease mobility issues by working your hips, glutes, and legs. To do it, follow these steps:
With this beginners' exercise, you can enhance hip flexibility and build hip and leg strength at the same time. Here's how to do it:
Adding ankle weights is an easy way to make this exercise more challenging as you develop more strength.
By helping to enhance your range of motion, this gentle stretch can make it easier for you to perform your daily tasks. To do it:
Exercising safely is important at any age but is especially crucial for seniors who may be more at risk for injuries and typically take longer to heal when they occur. To stay safe while you stretch, follow these tips:
The above stretches are general suggestions; some may not be ideal for seniors. Before starting any new exercise program, talk to your doctor. They can determine if you have health conditions or concerns that may make certain stretches unsafe. They can help you decide if you might benefit from seeing a physical therapist for hip problems or recommend you to start using some of the daily living aids.
Don't worry if you can't hold a stretch for as long as recommended or if you can't lift your leg or bend very far at first. Work to your ability level and strive to go for longer or increase your movement's size over time. Doing so can help you avoid injury.
It's normal for stretching to feel uncomfortable. You may experience a tugging or burning sensation as you work out muscles you don’t use as often. What you shouldn't feel is a sharp, stabbing pain. If you do, ease up on the stretch. If the pain still doesn't resolve, avoid that activity until you talk to your doctor.
Choose clothing that enables you to move freely, such as loose garments or apparel made of stretchy fabrics. Wear sneakers with good treads when performing standing exercises to avoid slipping and sliding. Avoid wearing jewelry, which could get caught while you move or scratch your skin during stretches.
Making sure that you can safely perform hip stretches can help prevent injuries that could result in further physical set backs. Have a caregiver or family member close by during your first stretching sessions. As you build up strength and flexibility, you may eventually exercise alone. Using daily living aids like a sturdy quad cane may also be helpful to provide additional stability. If you're building up strength to go for longer walks, using a spotter to help acclimate you to a rollator walker can also help you feel confident and ready to take on more independently.
Hip stretches should become part of your daily activities, like pelvic floor exercises for incontinence. You don't need to do these every day right from the start. Set a simple goal to do your hip stretches two to three times per week. Once you achieve your goal, add another day until you’re stretching daily.
If joint pain limits your ability to do physical activities, Because Joint Supplement may help with its blend of turmeric, glucosamine, and chondroitin that eases discomfort and stiffness while supporting overall joint health.