One of the biggest health fears for senior citizens is falling and resulting in broken hips (1).
The hips are what connect the legs and the trunk. They are the main source of stability and balance and support everyday movements.
When the hip muscles get untended, they inevitably become weaker. This can happen from a long period of sitting, inactivity, and/or aging. They along with surrounding joints can also become more prone to injury, pain, and decreased mobility.
As you approach your golden years, it’s especially important to keep your hip joint strong and healthy.
Luckily, daily practice of simple exercises and stretches can help strengthen your hip joint and the surrounding muscles.
If you are new to working your hip muscles, here are two exercises you can start with and see an instant benefit.
Perform these two moves every day for a few minutes to support healthy aging and a stronger body.
Also check out: The 7 Best Exercises for Seniors
1. Seated 90/90 Hip Stretch
The 90/90 stretch is key for hip mobility. During this movement, you’ll rotate one hip externally and the other hip internally. This stretch combines both internal and external rotation of the hips in one movement.
It also helps you stretch out tight hip flexors and as you press forward, you feel the stretch in your front leg adductors.
Here’s how to perform the 90/90 stretch:
- Sit on the floor with one leg bent in the front of your body and the other leg behind your body. Rest both knees on the floor and adjust the legs to form a 90-degree angle. Adjust the front foot, so it’ll point forward and both ankles should be neutral.
- Keeping your back straight and supporting your upper body with arms on the side, press forward gently with your torso.
- Hold the stretch for up to 60 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 2-3 times before switching legs.
Completing this gentle stretch just twice per week will help your hip mobility.
2. Glute Bridge
A long period of inactivity like sitting hours at your desk can cause your glutes to become underactive. Over time, this sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle tightness in the hips, back pain, and even poor stability.
The glute bridge is particularly helpful for those who tend to neglect the use of glutes and hips in their daily life. It’s a great way to recruit not just the hips and glutes but also the core, back, and hamstrings.
Perform this glute bridge on the floor several times a week to strengthen the hip joints and adjacent muscles.
How to Perform a Glute Bridge
- Start flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Adjust your toes so they point outward at a 45-degree angle and your knees are pointing in the same direction.
- Press through your feet and push your hips up.
- Drive down through your feet and push your hips up. Pause for 1-2 seconds and let your hips sink back down toward the ground. This completes 1 repetition.
- Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions or 3 rounds of a 30-second hold.