As age catches up with you, you’ll need to adapt how you take care of your body. For many seniors who are “active for their age” whether that’s socially or still working, you are prone to start suffering from hip pain from general wear and tear. There’s very little you can do to prevent it, but with our hip stretching exercises, for the elderly, you might be able to slow down the deterioration and relieve the pain or discomfort.
Most of us have heard those horror stories of seniors breaking their hip or one day just going to grab the counter and falling. The lack of balance or misjudgement is caused by weakened hip muscles around the hip joint. As the muscle deteriorates, you’ll feel the need to stabilise your movements with a walking aid or holding on to the wall as you walk.
Naturally, we’ll lose some muscle strength as we age, that’s just a fact of life for most of us, but the problems occur when we’ve lost too much muscle strength around the hip, causing instability which leads to more serious injuries. As with many things in life, probably the best cause of action is preventative. If you can strengthen these muscles before you get to the stage where you need walking aids, you’ll be able to keep the mobility you need to stay safe from hip injuries.
Performing the right hip stretching exercises for the elderly will help you maintain the muscle strength you have, but most importantly, give you the confidence to live life knowing you have balance and stability to support yourself.
Here are our favourite 3 hip exercises for seniors. We would classify them as easy to moderate in their complexity and level of required coordination, so they are for most readers. However, if you are suffering from severe hip problems, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or physiotherapist.
STANDING HIP EXTENSIONS
This is a great stretching exercise because it works both the muscles around your hip and bottom. That’s important because we are always striving for balance when we exercise. We wouldn’t like to create an imbalance. It’s also a great exercise because it’s simple to perform.
Start by standing with your feet facing the back of a chair. You want to make sure it’s a non-swivel chair, the sturdier, the better.
Using the top of the chair for balance, and keeping your right leg as straight as possible, move your leg back and forth. It’s important to keep the knee straight.
Once you’ve done ten repetitions, take a rest if you need. Then do the same with the left leg. Use the right leg now as your support leg, and move the left leg back and forth keeping the leg straight at all times.
STANDING HIP FLEXOR
This is a great exercise because it focuses on the hip flexors, which help you to pick up your leg and when done properly, will also engage your glutes, which is the main muscle in the bottom helping you to keep that balance you’re looking for.
Very similar to the first exercise, stand with your feet facing the back of a sturdy chair that’s not going to swivel. You need to make sure you leave enough room to be able to pick your leg up.
Now, holding onto the chair with both hands, and using your left leg to support you, lift your right leg up towards you, bending at the knee. The goal is to bring the knee of your right leg as close to your chest as possible.
It should be a slow, smooth movement, with a 2-3 second pause at the top where you hold it. You should look to do 10 repetitions before taking a rest and doing the same with the left leg, using the right leg as your supporting leg this time.
Important: It’s pretty easy to cheat with hip flexors. It’s not about wanting to cheat; it’s just the body likes to take the easiest route if it’s given a choice and this case, it feels more comfortable to bring our chest to the knee rather than bring our knee up to the chest. Focus on keeping your back nice and straight, and that will naturally stop the tendency to cheat the stretch.
This exercise is going to help you maintain balance, and what we like about it is that it’s also a very easy, safe exercise you can do, with or without a resistance band. (All the band does is increase the resistance, depending on your current strength, if you don’t have a band, this exercise still works).
The starting position is seated on a sturdy chair, back nice and straight. If you are using a resistance band, wrap it around your thighs, just above the knees, and tie the band together (if necessary).
Simple, spread your legs apart, from the hip. Spread them as far as they will comfortably go. Make sure to do this in 1 smooth and controlled movement.
Important to remember: Keeping form is everything when stretching. It’s about doing it right, not aggressively or quickly. As our bodies weaken actually doing stretches incorrectly can cause injury rather than prevent them. However, with these exercises, that’s extremely unlikely as we’ve selected low impact, easy to perform stretches.
For more information about Hip stretching exercises for the elderly or you’d just like to speak to a physio about how you can manage or treat a problem you have, then please feel free to get in touch for a consultation.