Fitness

Hip Mobility Exercises That’ll Help Office Workers and Gym Junkies Alike

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If you’re a person who spends a considerable amount of time each day sitting, chances are your hips need a little bit of attention. Whether or not you’re aware of it, this part of your body is kind of vital for everyday movement, and loads of us are neglecting these joints – leading to tightness and weakened muscles. So, with all that in mind, I thought I’d chat with a fitness expert about hip mobility and how to look after this body part right.

Kate Kraschnefski, Head of Compliance and Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness, shared a run down on hip mobility is so important, and gave some examples of exercises you can use to strengthen and stretch this part of the body.

“Hips are what is known as a ball and socket joint, which means they are capable of movement in a wide variety of ways, and many of the biggest and most powerful muscles of the body attach to them,” Kraschnefski shared over email.

“…There are many benefits to dedicating a consistent part of our routine to maintaining healthy hip mobility,” she continued.

These include: “improving posture, especially as most of us tend to sit for large portions of our days”. A reduction in the risk of injury and pain “as a result of ailments that derive from poor posture – such as lower back or knee pain”. An increase in “overall athletic performance,” and improvements to functional movement, “especially those that involve bending down, lifting or carrying things”.

Who should be using hip mobility exercises?

The short answer to this is everyone who is able to.

But these kinds of exercises are particularly useful for people who sit for extended periods of time (i.e. office workers, i.e. me).

Kraschnefski explained:

“If you regularly lift weights or participate in physical activity, you may experience tightness in the hips that impact your ability to move through optimal range under load. And on the other end of the spectrum, if you are inactive or sit for prolonged periods of time, you’ll probably also feel some level of discomfort.”

Hip mobility, she added, is also a great way to maintain stability and reduce your chance of falls as you age.

Exercises worth trying

Pigeon Pose hip mobility stretches exervises
Hip mobility stretches. Credit: iStock

Okay, so you want to start working on your hip mobility. Great. The key thing here is consistency – as is the case with any kind of flexibility. You should really be allocating a short amount of time every day to doing these kinds of stretches, Kraschnefski shared.

5 hip mobility exercises

Here are the five stretches Kraschnefski suggests you start off with in your hip mobility journey.

  1. Lying hip rotations. Lie on your back with both knees bent. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Move through the hip by moving the knee towards the midline of the body and pressing it away as well. Hold for a few seconds at the end of the movement.
  2. Hip flexor stretch. To perform this stretch, kneel down on one knee and bring the other foot forward, with the knee at a 90-degree angle. Gently push the hip forward and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Butterfly. Sit up with your feet together, and gently move the knees down toward the ground. Use your hand to press into the ground. To intensify the stretch, move your groin closer to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Frog hip stretch. This one can be pretty intense, so ease into it! Start on hands and knees, bringing your knees as far apart as is comfortable. Rock back and forth in that position. Keep the balls of your feet on the ground, with your toes pointed outward. If it feels available, sit back and relax into the stretch. Start for ten seconds and build duration over time.
  5. Pigeon pose. Start on your hands and knees, bring one knee forward and place it on the ground, with the ankle under the opposite hip. Lower the hips down and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Now, while the idea of a few minutes of stretching may sound pretty simple, Kraschnefski highlighted that “our hips can store a lot of tension and releasing them can feel intense and even emotional for some people”. So it’s important that you take it slow, and “listen to your body”.

From here, you can gradually increase until your hips are feeling limber as ever.

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