Hip Alignment For Seniors

Hip Alignment For Seniors

Hip pain or injuries are common, especially in seniors. Yes, falling can be one of the main causes but often the fall itself is caused by misalignment or weakness in the hips. When the hip moves away from its centered position, it can rotate forward or back and you might start to favor one side over the other, building strength on one side and losing it on the other. This can lead to pain and eventually, possibly to falls or injury. 

Strength and alignment go hand in hand so as we age, it’s important to keep our hips both strong and in alignment. 

The following exercises are great for seniors who would like to build or maintain strength in their hips, therefore keeping their hips aligned and minimizing the likelihood of pain, falls, and injuries. 

Why Seniors Should Strengthen Hips

Why is it important to do hip exercises that benefit the areas in and around the hips? Because the hips are more than just a bone, they are a structure of muscles and joints. 

The muscles surrounding the hip joint are divided into four groups:

  1. The Adductors
  2. The Glutes
  3. The Iliopsoas 
  4. The Lateral Rotators 

All of these muscles work together to help us maintain good posture and alignment. They work not only together, but they work to support the muscles of the spine, lower legs, core, neck, and shoulders. 

As we age, our bone structures start to break down faster, leading to more wear and tear over time. Keeping these muscles strong, can help counteract that damage. So exercises for hip alignment and strength should work all these muscles. 

Here are a few good examples! 

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

The standing hip flexor stretches great for those with low back pain and can build hip flexor strength. 

 Doing so can:

  • Help improve posture
  • Decompress the spine
  • Improves gluteal muscle activation for improved strength.

To do the stretch: 

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Place your hands on your hips
  • Step your left foot forward about a foot and a half
  • Bend your left knee, and lift your right heel off the floor
  • Lean forward and squeeze your right glute. Hold for 30-90 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side

Side Hip Raises 

Side hip raises are easy to do and are perfect for people who sit a lot or aren’t very active. 

This exercise offers:

  • Improved range of motion in the hips
  • Body stabilization
  • Activation of underused muscles for frequent sitters
  • Improved muscle endurance

To do the stretch:

  • Lay on your right side. Use a pillow/towel/mat for support if needed.
  • Hold yourself up with your right forearm.  
  • Slowly raise your left leg up, as far as is comfortable, and then bring it back down 
  • Move slowly to build strength. Try taking a full count of 5 to bring it up, and 5 more to bring it down.
  • Repeat 5 times
  • Repeat on the other side

You can also try these standing at a chair!

Hip Marches

Hip marches are a simple but effective exercise for building hip strength and can be done from a sitting position. 

They also: 

  • Increase core stability
  • Eliminate shuffling when walking 
  • Relieve hip and knee pain

To Do the Exercise:

  • Sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor. Make sure your back stays flat against the chair
  • Lift up your right knee as high as comfortable, then lower it.
  • Alternate lifting your knees for a total of 10 reps.
  • Do this exercise 10-15 times on each side.

Lunge With a Chair

This pose will help stretch the hips and maintain range of motion. 

Lunges are great because they:

  • Strengthen strengthen almost every muscle in the lower body—the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves
  • Increase core strength
  • Strengthens muscle tissue

To do this stretch: 

  • Place two sturdy chairs about three feet apart facing the same direction
  • The front chair is there for balance if you need it
  • Standing a few feet in front of the back chair, lift your left leg and place the top of your shin on the seat of the chair. Your knee will reach past the front edge, and the top of your foot will hang over the back. For extra comfort, you can place a folded blanket or cushion underneath your shin.
  • From here, bend your front knee slightly as you push your hips forward and down.
  • To increase the stretch, step your front foot forward so it’s farther away from the chair.
  • Hold this position for five deep breaths, then switch sides and repeat.

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Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly is a great stretch for those with tight hips but make sure to do some other stretches beforehand or slowly ease into the pose, especially if your hips are really tight.

This stretch: 

  • Loosens up your low back, hips, and inner thighs, 
  • Eases discomfort in these areas
  • Enhances flexibility

To do this stretch:

  • Sit on the ground, with the bottoms of your feet touching each other. 
  • Let your knees fall out toward the floor. 
  • To deepen the stretch, you can bend forward or bring your feet closer to your body, or move them farther away 
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

These stretches and exercises are great for seniors who are active or those looking to add a little more easy movement into their routine. Don’t neglect your alignment and if you need a little more support, try an Orange Insole in your shoe to prevent pain from walking or standing. 

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