With the invention of chairs, cars and any other situation that gets you to sit for extended periods of time; one thing I have learned is people sit a lot. So what’s so bad about sitting? Well nothing really, especially if you need a break from walking/standing for long periods of time. However, sitting has become more than a rest, but a way of life whether during eating, working, traveling or socializing. The extreme sitting people do have many body issues like back, posture, and range of motion problems. Also since seniors tend to sit more than the average person, it is very common that they, in particular, suffer from many of these issues. From my experience as a personal trainer for seniors, I have learned that increasing the mobility of the hips tends to make the biggest difference. So here are 5 stretches to improve the mobility in your hips.
Glute Stretch – The key to doing this stretch is to cross your leg as if you are making the number 4 (with the ankle resting on the other knee). Once you are in this position, you lean on your hips (not hunched over), and you should feel the stretch in your glute (butt) muscle. You can also use the arm that’s closest to elevated knee to gently push it down so you feel the stretch more. (see picture below)
Piriformis Stretch- This is a good stretch particularly if you have sciatica. The Piriformis stretch looks like the Glute stretch, but instead, you would be pulling your knee to your chest as you sit tall
Hamstring Stretch- I like to do a hamstring stretch because most people have tight hamstrings which can contribute to low back pain. The key in this stretch is to keep a straight leg and lean on your hips (not hunched over) to feel the stretch. A lot of people think they need to reach for their toes during this stretch, but it is not necessary. If you lean on your hips, it avoids you hunching over which is not good if you have Osteoporosis. (see picture below)
Quad Stretch – This stretch is important because most people usually have tight Quadricep muscles. The quadricep muscles are used particularly when we have to squat or climb stairs. You can either stretch them lying down or standing. (see picture below)
Hip Flexor Stretch – This stretch is really important because if you look at the position- the front of your hips are in when you sit; they are in a shortened/tight position. The only way to stretch your hip flexors is to the stretch them in the opposite direction. (see picture below)
While I gave you 5 stretches to improve the mobility in your hips, a bonus one would be to just stand up.