Health Tahoe: Healthy, happy hips are key to good health
Flexibility at the hip improves freedom of movement; from tying your shoes to lifting something off the floor. Proper strength at the hip allows the ability to rise from a chair, hike or climb stairs.
Due to its location, being good to your hips will aid in knee and back health too.
As an orthopedic physical therapist, here are everyday exercises I recommend to keep your hips happy and healthy:
Hip Flexor Stretch
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Begin in a half-kneeling position with the right knee in front. Keep your back straight and hips facing forward. Move the hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the left thigh. Repeat on the other side. Use this stretch to counter the effects of sitting for long periods.
Begin lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Hold the left thigh and hug the left leg into your chest until you feel a stretch at the back of the right hip. Repeat on the other side.
Begin lying on your side with knees bent to 90 degrees. Keep the hips and shoulders stacked. Raise the top knee away from the bottom knee. Keep the feet together. Avoid rotating your back. Add a band around your thighs to progress.
Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart. Tighten your stomach and buttocks muscles. Slowly lift the hips into a bridge position and return to the start position. Avoid arching your back or rotating your hips. Add a band around your thighs to progress.
Try these after an active warm-up of 5-10 minutes. Perform stretches daily. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Perform strengthening 3 times a week. Try 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Consult your physician if you have persistent hip pain.
Michelle Snyder, PT, OCS is a physical therapist specializing in orthopedics at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. For more information on physical therapy services visit BartonOrthopedicsAndWellness.com/Rehabilitation or call 530-543-5706.
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