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Stretching the hips improves joint range of motion and flexibility.
Physical activity levels tend to decline with age, which leads to a loss of fitness, strength and flexibility. Poor flexibility in the hips may be the result of tight muscles, which leads to further decreased range of motion and joint stiffness. Seniors can improve hip flexibility by performing stretches at least three times per week as part of an overall fitness routine.
Hip Rotation Stretch
A hip rotation stretch aims to improve hip range of motion as well as the ability to perform common activities such as getting in and out of cars. Seniors can safely do this stretch in a seated position on a chair at home. Start by sitting tall on the chair, with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Cross your left leg over your right leg so that your left ankle rests on your right knee. Gently press down on your left knee to increase the stretch, holding it for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to three times on each leg.
Standing Side Stretch
Stretch the muscles at the outer hip, including the iliotibial band, with a standing side stretch. Perform this stretch by standing up with your right side next to a wall. Cross your left leg over your right leg and lean to the left away from the wall until you feel a stretch. As you do so, your right hip will shift toward the wall. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and repeat two to three times on each leg. To maintain steady balance, place your right hand on the wall or hold on to a chair in front of you for extra support.
Seated knee-to-chest stretches improve your hip range of motion. Do this exercise seated comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your left leg and wrap your arms around your left knee to hug it toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to the start position. Repeat three times on each leg.
Standing Squat Stretch
Standing squat stretches target the inner thighs to improve hip range of motion. Do this exercise by standing tall behind a chair, with both hands on the back of the chair for support. Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes turned out. Bend your knees until you feel a stretch in the inner thighs. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds before returning to the start position. Repeat three to five times.