Hip Hip Hooray!

Stretches to help your hips hooray!

Stretches to help your hips hooray!

My mom is sporting a new hip this week. She had her left hip joint replaced with a new & improved model on Wednesday. Needless to say, she’s a little sore, but excited about being able to move without pain (of course, this is after she recovers from the pain of her muscles, tendons & ligaments being pulled and her femur getting hammered). So, in honor of my mom’s new ball (in old socket), I thought I’d give you an age stronger tip for each hip.

Two muscles of the hip that tend to tighten up on us—especially when we sit a lot—are the piriformis and psoas major. The piriformis is a deep hip muscle that originates on both sides of the anterior sacrum and inserts on the top of each greater trochanter. This muscle can get overworked when we put our weight on one side for too long (sitting or standing). The psoas major originates on both sides of the lower spine (T12 through L5) and inserts on each lesser trochanter. Its primary action is flexing the pelvis. This is why it is also referred to as the hip flexor.

If you want to avoid tight & tired hips, it’s important to keep these muscles limber. Here are some simple standing stretches you can do in less than five minutes…

Stand up straight (reaching through crown) in the center of a doorway with legs hip-width apart and belly button pulled in toward spine. Shoulders and arms are relaxed and hands can hold on to doorjamb for balance, if needed. Start by lubricating your hip joints with some hip circles.

Hip Circles

Stand on one leg with other leg bent at knee, so that lower leg is parallel to the floor. Hips are even and pointing forward. Keeping bent knee pointing down toward floor, start circling leg in clockwise direction 5 times, then counter-clockwise 5 times. Keep tension in circling leg as if you’re stirring molasses; stabilizing leg remains straight (no pushing out hip). Repeat on other leg.

Piriformis Stretch

Stand up straight and cross your right leg over the left, so that your right ankle rests just above left knee. Right knee is pointing outward and hips are even and pointing forward. Now bend your left knee and both hips so that your bottom moves backward, like you’re going to sit down. Hold on to doorjamb (if needed), and come down as far as is comfortable (up to 90 degree angle bend in left knee). Hold for a couple of breaths and then come back to starting position and repeat 2 more times. Switch legs.

Psoas (Hip Flexor) Stretch

Standing straight & reaching through crown, step forward on your left foot with your right leg resting on toes pointed straight forward. Your legs should be in a wide stance and your right heel is raised off floor. Holding on to doorjamb (if needed), bend both knees about 45 degrees, keeping head over shoulders and shoulders over hips. Now, without moving your legs, scoop your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in the upper part of your right thigh. Don’t arch your back (belly button pulls in toward spine). Hold for a couple of breaths and then come back to starting position and repeat 2 more times. Switch legs.

Here’s to aging stronger!

About Annette Cain

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete and certified personal trainer.

Known as the Longevity Lady™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy and balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer.

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