We’re big walking fans at Legology – we all love a weekend hike with our family, friends and dogs. Apart from getting fresh invigorating air into the system, walking also keeps you flexible, especially if you’re covering different terrain, and it reduces stiffness as the hip flexors are loosened up, which improves hip mobility and range of motion. Hip health is crucial for overall strength and wellbeing but often overlooked in fitness routines. Here, we’ll explore five of the best hip strengthening and mobilising exercises. They’re easy to incorporate into your routine and you’ll reap the benefits of healthy hips in the years to come.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Before diving into hip-strengthening exercises, it’s important to start with a good stretch to improve flexibility. The hip flexor stretch is great for releasing tension and tightness in the front of the hips. To perform this stretch, start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground and the other foot forward. Keep your back straight and gently press your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side and repeat 2-3 times.
Hip Raises (Bridge Pose)
Hip raises, also known as bridge pose in yoga, are an effective exercise to target the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back while engaging the hip flexors. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Squeeze your glutes at the top and hold for a few seconds before lowering back down. Aim for 10-15 repetitions.
Leg raises primarily target the hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles, helping to improve hip strength and stability. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and legs straight. Lift one leg off the ground while keeping it straight, and then slowly lower it back down. Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each leg, and if it feels too challenging, you can bend your knees slightly.
Side Leg Raises
Side leg raises are fantastic for targeting the muscles on the sides of the hips, known as the abductors. These muscles are essential for maintaining balance and stability during daily activities. To perform this exercise, lie on one side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Lift the top leg towards the ceiling, keeping it straight. Lower it back down with control. Do 10-15 repetitions on each side.
Squats are a compound exercise that engage multiple muscle groups, including hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They help improve overall lower body strength and promote hip mobility. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your hips back and down as if you are sitting in a chair, and then push through your heels to return to the standing position. Aim for 12-15 repetitions.
Why Strong Hips Are Good For Your Legs
Having strong hips is essential for maintaining healthy legs and preventing injuries. The hip muscles provide stability and support for the entire lower body, allowing you to move with ease and perform daily activities without strain. When your hips are strong, they can better distribute the forces during movements, reducing the stress on your knees and ankles. Strong hips also enhance athletic performance, making it easier to run, jump, and engage in various physical activities.
Why You Need To Strengthen Your Hips With Age
As we age, our muscles naturally lose strength and flexibility, and the hips are no exception to this process. Weak hips can lead to imbalances in the body, affecting your gait and overall posture. This in turn increases the risk of falls and fractures, which can have severe consequences for the elderly. Strengthening your hips through regular exercise can help maintain stability and mobility, ensuring you stay active and independent as you age.
Taking care of your hips is crucial for maintaining overall lower body health and mobility. Incorporating hip flexor stretches and targeted hip strengthening exercises into your fitness routine can lead to improved posture, reduced pain, and enhanced athletic performance. Remember to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Strong hips are the foundation for a healthier, more active life, regardless of age. So, why wait?