Do you look over at the person next to you in yoga in astonishment??? Do you cringe every time you have to get up/down off the floor???
Well this one is for you!
Why do our hips get so tight??
- Poor posture. Standing in a lazy floppy position, hanging off your hips…
- Prolonged sitting usually at work and/or driving puts the hip flexors in a shortened position ALL day. A muscle that is not stretched won’t be flexible.
- Using the wrong muscles Hip flexors are often overused to compensate for weakness elsewhere in particular the gluteals and core.
- Doing the same exercises/sports all the time the same muscles and joints are being worked in the same directions. If you don’t use it (the hip movement) you will lose it! You cant expect to put your leg behind your head, if you don’t practice it…..
- Your weak. This can mean other stronger muscles will work harder to compensate. And get tighter.
Why is hip mobility important?
- Tight muscles pull on the bone, this can change the position of your femur and pelvis, which can result in extra load on the muscles and joints. For example, tight hip flexors can increase the arch of your lower back, and contribute to back pain.
- If certain muscles are tight, your body will change the way it moves. The body will move through the path of least resistance (often a non-optimal way), as this is easier. This can place extra load on your knees, lower back etc.
Tips for improving your hip mobility!
- Pick your favourite stretches. You are more likely to do them, if you only have a few and you feel comfortable.
- Establish a routine. Consider YOUR lifestyle, what is going to work for you? Eg. Morning or evening, 10 min per day or 3 longer stretch sessions?
- Add variety to your routine, this moves the muscles/joints in different directions and different loads. eg. Swimming, yoga, pilates
- Look at your exercise balance. How much time per week do you spend stretching?? Is it just cardio, strength and then a quick 2 min stretch after your game….
- Hold the stretch for > 20 seconds and breathe. If you can’t relax the muscle won’t relax.
- Use this as your chill out time. Listen to some music, breathe and let the day go.
Written by Eliza (Physiotherapist)