An article by exercise physiologist, Jennifer Smallridge
The hip joints are made up of a ball-and-socket configuration with a strong set of muscles around them, allowing us to walk, sit, stand, run, jump, dance, and generally move through life.
Keeping the hips nice and mobile can prevent other structures – such as the lower back and knees – from taking too much force. The hip joints also respond well to warmth, for example: using heat packs or walking in a heated pool. Water can also help to take some pressure off by making you feel buoyant, often allowing more flexibility than what you can achieve on land.
How movement can help:
• Maintaining a healthy weight - the hips absorb a lot of forces from the ground and the body, and excess weight can increase pain.
• Strengthening the hip muscles - this also assists with generating and managing forces at the hips.
• Keeping the joints flexible - if we are not mobile enough, simple tasks like rising from a chair or going for a walk can feel very difficult!
Did you know:
Each pelvic bone is actually made of three separate bones which have fused together. Of more than 250 species of primates, humans are the only one who get around on two legs.
Before you start:
For each of the following exercises, ensure that your body is nice and warm (for example, after a hot shower or brisk walk), or after placing heat packs on your hips for at least 10 minutes. It is important when exercising the back to only go as far as comfortable, and not to push through strong pain. Make sure that you aren’t holding your breath!
- Exercise bike: Most days of the week, building up to 10 minutes
- Glute squeeze and leg life: 2 x 10
- Bridges: 2 x 10
- Clamshells: 2 x 10 each side
- Split leg bridge: 2 x 10 each side
- Stretch hip flexors: 30 seconds each side
- Single Leg Bridge: 2 x 10 each side
- Donkey kicks: 2 x 10 each side
- Arabesque: 2 x 10 each side