It is only natural that as we grow older, our bodies encounter some changes. These changes tend to hinder us from performing certain physical activities that are a part of our daily lives.
Changes such as limited flexibility and mobility are major concerns for older adults. They can also result in stiffness, back pains, and overall restrictions in movement. This can affect the quality of their lifestyle and prevent them from living a full, healthy, and happy life.
Research has shown that most knee, shoulder, and lower back pains are associated with hip stiffness. The hip, knee, shoulder, and lower back have a common nerve serving them. A connecting nerve or tissue could cause pain in these regions if stiff. Fortunately, these problems can be avoided and resolved with simple hip exercises for seniors.
At places like the Seasons Retirement community, service team members offer older adults a healthy life by incorporating the best hip exercises in their daily activities. This article will walk you through some of the best hip stretches that can help your older relatives improve their hip flexibility and mobility.
Easy Hip Stretches For Seniors
Older adults are encouraged to participate in hip exercises to improve their mobility, muscle strength, and flexibility. This would ensure they are without pain and stiffness in their joints and connective tissues.
This hip exercise helps to stretch your hip flexors, permitting more mobility in your hip region. It also stretches your abdominals, cervical flexors, biceps, brachialis, and pectoralis muscles.
Cobra pose engages other muscles such as your gluteus maximus, triceps, hamstrings, spinal extensors, and upper back. The exercise can quickly relieve muscle strain in some areas of your body. It can also help to correct your posture and relax your muscles.
How To Perform Cobra Pose?
- Lie on your belly on the floor or a soft surface
- Place your palms flat on the floor on either side of you at chest level
- Push your upper body off the floor using your arms until you feel a stretch at your hips
- Hold this position for 10 seconds before you let your body down
- Repeat this process as many times as you can
While performing the cobra pose, always maintain a strong breathing pattern. Inhale as you push up, and exhale as you come down. Also, make sure to look straight ahead to keep your neck muscles stretched.
The Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors are essential for mobility as they are the muscles responsible for your ability to move your legs properly.
The tightness of these muscles can result in a tear of the hip flexors if there are any sudden or extensive movements. A tear or stretch in the hip flexors can cause pain, muscle spasms, and difficulty walking.
The standing hip flexor stretch is among the best hip stretches that would strengthen the hip flexors and increase their flexibility.
How To Practice Standing Hip Flexor Stretch?
- Stand straight with your feet together
- Carefully lift your left leg and bend it at the knees
- Try as much as possible to bring your bent knee close to your chest
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and gently lower your left leg to the ground
- Do this for your right leg
- Repeat this process 10 times for each of your legs
To increase your difficulty level, you can add ankle weights for more resistance. You can support your weight by holding onto a wall or nearby chair.
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Gently bend your right leg backward with your toes pointing towards the floor
- Using your right hand, pull your right heel towards your butt and hold this position for 10 seconds
- Lower your right leg and repeat this process for your left leg
- Do this for 10 reps
You can use your left hand to hold a chair or a wall for balance while you carry out this stretch.
The Butterfly Pose
This pose helps to engage your adductors and flexors. It loosens the muscles in your inner thighs, hips, and groin. It also improves flexibility, balance, and blood flow in your pelvic region.
To carry out the butterfly pose, do the following:
- Sit on a mat with your spine straightened
- Fold your legs at the knees in front of you and ensure that both feet touch in the middle
- Hold both your feet together with your hands
- Take a deep breath
- Lean your upper body forward and release your breath until you feel a stretch in your hips
- Hold this position for 60 seconds and repeat as needed
While you practice this pose, remember to control your breathing.
This stretch is carried out in a sitting position. It focuses on the flexibility and strengthening of the hip flexors and the legs. It enhances movement and stability and helps alleviate pain in the legs and the knees. Hip marches eliminate shuffling in an older person’s gait.
Steps Involved In Hip Marches
- Sit in a chair, preferably a sturdy one, with your back straight against the furniture
- Place your feet flat on the floor and your arm either on the arm of the chair or on your thigh
- Lift a leg bent at the knee as high as you can and gently put it back on the floor
- Do this slowly 10 more times and then repeat for your other leg
To increase your difficulty level, you can attach ankle weights to your leg.
Figure Four Stretch
The figure four stretch helps to increase the range of motion of the outer hips. It is one of the best hips stretches for improving mobility and flexibility.
Steps For Figure Four Stretch
- Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you
- Bend your right leg at the knee and plant your right foot on the floor
- Lift your left leg and place it over your right knee at the ankle
- In this position, push your left knee away from your body
- Join your hands together under your right hamstring and lift your right knee off the floor toward your chest
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
- Repeat the process with the alternating legs
If you find this challenging, you can do it without lifting your planted foot off the floor
Limitations in mobility and flexibility can be easily avoided in older adults by including these stretches in their daily activities. Engaging their hip flexors and body muscles is an excellent way to prevent muscle stiffness and pain.