If there’s one area of the body you want to strengthen as you age is the hips.
Having good strength, mobility, and flexibility in your hips is extremely important as you get older.
A lack of hip strength and mobility can impair how well you move and increase your risk of falls.
This is a serious concern for seniors as falls could result in a hip fracture and decreased mobility.
A weak hip also makes day-to-day activities more challenging. As you get older, your bones become weaker, more fragile, and more prone to fracture and injury. It’s a natural part of aging, yet it doesn’t have to be inevitable.
The good news is regular exercise can help improve strength and flexibility in your hips, core, and legs.
This will also help protect you from falls and fractures. Moreover, it increases the likelihood of regaining as much mobility as possible if you do break your hip.
Your hips are what connect you’re lower back to your legs. When your hip muscles are weak, it decreases your ability to stabilize your lower back and weakens the lower body functions.
Hip stretches also help improve your range of motion and keep your hip joints stable, which helps relieve back pain and prevent injury.
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Benefits of Having Strong Hips
The hips are what stabilize your lower and upper body, distributing the weight of your upper body to the lower limbs.
A weaker hip muscle can cause instability and inability to bring even load distribution and impair mobility.
It can also negatively affect the spine and cause poor posture, which can lead to back pain and more.
With stronger hip muscles, you are able to support your body’s movements and improve your flexibility, mobility, and range of motion.
Here are 5 exercises you should do to strengthen your hips and prevent injury.
1. Sidestep Exercise
The sidestep exercise is functional and dynamic. It forces the use of your hips and glutes by using a lightweight mini-band that provides resistance.
Keep your hips and toes facing straight ahead. Increase the intensity by lowering the band so it’s above your ankles and lowering your squat position.
How to do the side step:
- Wrap a mini-band around your ankles and get into a half-squat position. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart so your band has nice tension but is not overstretched.
- Tighten your hips and glutes and step out with your right foot to your right. Step in with your left foot and continue stepping out and in until you complete 10 steps in one direction.
- Make sure to keep the tension in the band throughout the exercise to reinforce the activation of your hips, glutes, and thighs.
- Complete the 10 steps in the other directions. That’s one set. Aim 2-3 sets.
2. Clamshell Exercise
This floor hip exercise mobilizes your muscles in the hips, inner thighs, pelvis, and glutes.
It also strengthens your core and loosens the tight back muscles, aiding to reduce back pain and injury.
How to do the clamshell exercise:
- Wrap a mini-band around your lower thighs right above your knees. Get on the floor and lie on your left side.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet stacked.
- Rotate your right (top) leg as high as you can without detaching your feet. Pause for a moment and return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 8-10 reps before switching sides.
3. Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts
Strengthen your hips and regain your balance and stability with this single-leg Romanian deadlift.
This glutes and hamstring exercise is a great move to increase balance, coordination, and core strength.
How to do the single Romanian deadlift:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight on your right foot and slightly lift your left foot off the floor.
- Bend your right knee slightly and tighten your core and glutes.
- Keeping a neutral spine and flat back, hinge your hips back to bring your torso lower to a point it’s almost parallel to the floor.
- As you bring your torso down, bring your left leg up. Try not to keep your hips turning as you bring your torso down. Pause for a moment and come back to the starting position, bringing your left leg down at the same time.
- Complete 8-10 repetitions and switch sides.
4. Butterfly Pose
The butterfly pose is one great stretch for those with tight hips. It helps stretch and opens up your hip flexors and improves your blood circulation.
How to the butterfly pose:
- Sit on the floor and bend your knees. Bring your knees open to bring the soles of your feet together and meet in the middle.
- Grab your toes with your hands and slowly fold your torso over your thighs while gently pressing your knees down with your elbows.
- Hold the pose and feel the stretch in your thighs and hip flexors.
- After 10-30 seconds of holding the position, release and come back to the starting position. Repeat 2-3 times.
5. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is a great strengthening exercise for your hips, glutes, core, and back.
It activates all the key spine stabilizing muscles and builds strength in the target muscles.
How to do a glute bridge
- Start on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground.
- Adjust your feet so they are about shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Tighten your core and glutes before you start. Drive through your feet and use the glutes to push your hips off the ground and form a straight line from your shoulders to the knees.
- With control, bring your hips down to the starting position. Repeat for 10-15 times and aim 2-3 sets.
Select one or few of these hip-strengthening exercises to add to your workout routine. They’ll help to strengthen your hips and increase hip mobility as well. Consult with your physician before you begin any new exercise regimen to discuss if they are suited for you.