Your Body, Your Life: Steps to Prevent Tight, Sore Hips from Slowing You Down

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Your hips are a type of joint known as ball and socket joints. Each joint is formed where the ball-shaped knob of the thigh bone fits onto the socket in the hip bone. A healthy hip bone has a ¼ inch covering of cartilage to protect it. This is lubricated by synovial fluid, which keeps the joint moving smoothly without causing pain.

What Can Cause Stiff Hips?

Your hips are vital for walking, running, standing, and jumping. If you’re suffering from stiff or painful hips some, if not all, of these activities will be difficult and may even be impossible. Some causes of stiff hips, such as a short term injury, may be temporary, while others, such as arthritis, may be permanent. Other conditions include:

  • Inflammatory Bursitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Trochanteric Bursitis

If you are beginning to feel as though your hips are not moving as well as they once did, if you are hearing a clicking noise, or your range of motion is reduced, it might be time to start hip loosening exercises.

Keeping Your Hips Flexible

The best way to stop your hips from slowing you down is to do regular hip stretches. There are many different forms of exercises you can use to stretch out sore or tight hips. Here are just a few suggestions.

Yoga

You should take care if you are practicing yoga to make sure that you do not put too much pressure on your hip joints and cause further damage. These gentle poses may help to alleviate pain and increase flexibility.

Fish Pose

The fish will help you stretch out your hips. Lie on you back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Your arms should be by your sides. Slowly stretch out your legs and place your hands, palms-down, beneath your buttocks. Inhale slowly and arch your back as much as you can, so that the back or top of your head rests lightly on the floor. Hold for thirty seconds while breathing deeply and without putting excessive pressure on your neck.

The Butterfly Pose

This is good for releasing pain and tension in the hips. Sit on your mat with knees bent and the soles of your feet pressed together. Pull your heels inwards as far as you can. Place the palm of your hands on your knees and gently press your knees downwards, as close to the floor as you can. Breathe deeply 10 to 15 times and relax.

Supported Warrior Pose

This pose will ease upper and lower back pain. Stand facing a wall and place your palms against it at shoulder height. Bend your elbows and let your body weight rest on your hands. Place your right foot about 2 feet behind you and bend the right knee slightly. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths then straighten and change legs.

The Child’s Pose

This restful pose will relax the back and open the hips. Kneel on your mat, with your knees slightly apart and rest your buttocks on your feet. Breathe out deeply and lower your torso between your knees forehead is resting on the floor, letting your arms rest by your sides, palms up. Breathe deeply 10 to 15 times then return to sitting.

Tai Chi

Tai chi, or tai chi chuan, is a self-paced system of physical exercise. It involves a series of postures and stretching movements which are performed slowly and gracefully. Tai chi can be beneficial if you are suffering from still hips.

Because they are so gentle, most forms of tai chi are suitable for anyone. This means that you can practice tai chi no matter how old you are or what you range of physical ability is. The motions emphasize technique rather than strength, making tai chi very low impact. Although tai chi is a relatively safe form of exercise, you should consult your doctor before starting a program, particularly if you are recovering from a hip injury. A tai chi trainer will also be able to teach you the correct breathing techniques and the philosophy behind the practice. If you are recovering from a back injury, a tai chi instructor will also be able to help you practice safely without causing further damage.

Stiff hips can be a real pain, especially if you are used to being an active person. The exercises above should go a long way to helping loosen your hips. Get stretching today and give yourself more flexibility.

Eleanor Potter is a fitness instructor who enjoys healthy living and has a passion for cooking up delicious yet healthy meals for her family. She writes about these subjects in her articles.

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