Mobility can be difficult for seniors, leading to stiffness, especially in the hips. When supporting your health, how can you release tight hips? What lifestyle changes can you make to improve your flexibility?
Continue reading to learn more about how to release tight hips if you’re an older adult.
The Importance of the Hips in Daily Movement
Your hips are essential for movement and stabilizing and holding your body weight. However, problems in the hips are common with age. You use your hips daily when you walk or rotate your body to grab something.
Mobility can become limited in older adults, particularly the hips, as they support your body and help you move. Sitting too much for too long can lead to tight hips.
Mobility Decreases With Age
Your muscles become weaker with age, affecting your ability to move and complete daily tasks. An older adult’s muscle strength can decrease by as much as 50% from age 25 to 80. Changes in walking, balance, and strength can affect your overall mobility.
Exercise is one of the best ways to stay mobile, with stretching being a vital part of a workout plan.
How Can You Release Tight Hips?
Stretching is one of the best things you can do to release tight hips. Incorporating stretching into your exercises can be especially beneficial for seniors, helping improve flexibility and mobility.
Research shows that the most effective workout plans for older adults involve stretching. Think about adding stretching to your daily routine to keep yourself mobile.
Some stretches to release tight hips include cobra stretches, low lunges, figure four stretches, and knee-chest stretches. Remember to do the stretches that feel most comfortable for your needs.
A cobra stretch can loosen the hip flexors at the front of your body, helping increase flexibility and motion.
Complete a cobra stretch with the following steps:
- Lie on your stomach on the floor or in bed.
- Bring your hands below your shoulders & press upwards until you feel a stretch in your hips.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds & repeat as needed.
A low lunge can help stretch your leg and loosen your hips. You can perform this stretch in several steps:
- Start with your hands & knees on the ground with your back flat.
- Bring one leg forward, placing it flat on the floor with your knee over your ankle.
- Press your other foot backward, with the top of the foot pressing against the ground.
- Straighten your back & lift your chest while placing your hands on the ground beside you.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds & then repeat on the other leg.
You can use a chair to modify this exercise, using the seat to support your front leg. Rest your arm or hand on the chair for extra support and balance.
Figure Four Stretches
A figure four stretch can help improve the range of motion in your outer hips. You can do this stretch by following these steps:
- Lie on your back on the floor or bed.
- Bend your right knee & place your foot flat on the ground.
- Lift your left leg & place your left ankle over the right knee.
- Engage the left leg to move the knee away from your body.
- Hold your hands under your right leg, lifting the foot off the ground
- Hold this position & breathe for 10 seconds.
- Repeat on the other leg.
You can modify this stretch by keeping your right foot on the floor and completing the rest of the motions the same, making it less intensive.
The knee-chest stretch helps loosen the muscles that connect to your hip, improving flexibility. You can complete a knee-to-chest stretch with the following steps:
- Lie down on your back, bringing one knee to your chest.
- Wrap your arms around your knee.
- Hold for 10 seconds & repeat on the other leg.
If modifying this exercise to meet your mobility needs, bend your knee instead of pulling it to your chest. Place your other foot on the ground to activate the muscles.
Consider Adding Hip-Strengthening Exercises to Your Workout Plan
If you’re looking to keep your hips healthy and mobile, stretching is only one part of your exercise plan. Consider adding hip-strengthening exercises into your workout routine.
Research shows that exercise, walking, flexibility training (stretching), and balance training can help improve mobility. In a study of over 1,600 older adults, experts found that physical activity helped reduce the risk of major mobility disability by 18%.
Some hip-strengthening exercises for older adults include:
- Seated marches
- Standing hip extension
- Standing hip abduction
- Sit to stand
Help Yourself Get the Exercise You Need
Regular exercise, movement, and stretching can keep your hips strong with good mobility, helping you move and complete daily tasks. Senior living may be the right lifestyle for you if you’re looking for support with your fitness. Fitness classes and support are a part of the services offered in these communities, helping residents get their bodies moving. Contact your local senior living community if you’re interested in this lifestyle.