Exercise for Your Hip's Sake
For people who are middle-aged and younger, the hip usually requires only moderate conditioning exercises to keep it in shape. Major trauma is rare, and repetitive motion injuries usually are confined to serious runners and other athletes. For older people, however, changes in the hip due to aging or disease demand awareness of what can be done to prevent potential injuries.
Stretching and strengthening exercises such as the ones in this article should be part of your regular exercise routine unless you have a special health problem. The hip region is affected positively by exercises for the thighs, lower back, groin, buttocks, and abdominal muscles. You may find that exercises that are already in your repertoire have a "bonus" benefit as hip conditioners.
Older people are most at risk for osteoarthritis, which may cause pain and stiffness. Unfortunately there's no way to predict or prevent the onset of this condition. But maintaining flexibility and range of motion through exercise is a top priority, and your physical therapist is well-equipped to design a program of exercise especially for your needs.
American Physical Therapy Association Workout
The following workout uses several stretches recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association and strengthening exercises that specifically target the muscle groups that interact with the hip. Perform all the exercises only as far as they remain comfortably possible.
THE HIP EXERCISES:
1. THIGH STRETCH Stand behind a chair, resting your hands for support. Keep your head up and back straight. Slowly move your right leg out to the side about 12 inches. Hold for 10 seconds and return to the starting position, controlling the movement with your muscles. Repeat 10 times. Switch legs.
2. HIP/BUTTOCK STRETCH Lying on your back, straighten your right leg on the floor, bend your left leg, and grasp the left ankle with your right hand. Holding the knee out to the side with your left hand, gently press it toward your shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat five times and switch legs.
3. PELVIC LIFT This move strengthens your glutes, abs and hamstrings. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, tighten your abs and glutes and raise your pelvis until it's in line with your knees. Don't let the knees splay. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Do three sets of 10.
4. KNEES TO CHEST This static stretch works your abs and improves hip, back and neck flexibility. Lie on your back, bending your right leg and keeping your left leg straight. Press your chin to your chest, hold the right leg in both hands just behind your knee, and pull your knee toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Do each leg 10 times and then pull both knees to your chest; hold for 30 seconds.
5. SQUAT Stand holding a barbell across your traps, with your head up and your back in its natural alignment. Slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.
6. OUTER-LEG RAISES Lying on your left side, rest your head in your left hand, placing your right hand on the floor for balance. Lift your right leg slowly, as far as you comfortably can. Hold at the top and lower it again, controlling the movement: Repeat before your legs touch. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps and switch sides.
7. INNER-LEG RAISES Lying on your right side, bend your left leg to place the left heel in front of the right knee. Lift the right leg six to eight inches off the ground; hold for five seconds and lower. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps and switch sides. For an added challenge, use ankle weights.
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This article was provided by Hipscope.com. Their mission is to assemble and assimilate information pertaining to the pathologies, treatment options and rehabilitative therapies relating to the hip joint. Learn more by visiting their web site at www.hipscope.com.