I hear from and see a lot of people with a variety of issues and goals, but each day I am becoming more and more convinced that no matter what anyone’s goals may be, the key to feeling better overall lies in your hips. I know what you’re thinking, but this is a family publication so let me explain. Think of a door and its frame. What connects the two parts? The door hinge. Think about how nice it feels to open a door when the hinge is nicely set and oiled. Now think about how it feels to try and open a door with a creaky hinge. Not so smooth. You have to yank on the doorknob and put stress on the frame. Well, your hips are just like a door hinge. They lie right in the middle of our body, connecting the two parts and allowing them to move smoothly back and forth into flexion (hips in a sitting position) and extension (hips fully forward).
If your hips move well it takes stress off our shoulders, back and knees. Unfortunately, the fact that most of us sit all day tightens our hips and that forces our back to move more than it should. It also puts pressure on our knees and all of that tension moves up to our shoulders and messes them up, too.
Well, you might be asking, how can I get my hips moving better. Well, lets start with a simple exercise called the Waiter’s Bow. Stand with your back against a wall and take a step forward. From here, take a deep breath into your chest and hold your chest high in that position. Find a spot just above eye level and don’t take your eyes off that spot. Now, keep that upper body position and push your butt back and touch the wall. Go back to the starting position and be sure to squeeze your glutes to finish the movement.
This also brings up another crucial point. One of the biggest problems people have is that they can’t differentiate between hip movement and lower back movement. The problem there is that our hips are meant for movement and our lower backs are meant for stability. When our hips don’t move well our lower backs have to, and that creates problems This is also exacerbated by the fact that many people have weak glutes and they are a very important muscle when it comes to good hip movement. In my video blog this week I show you a few exercises that can help strengthen your glutes and improve your hip function.
Please drop me a line if you have any questions and don’t forget to contact your doctor before beginning any exercise program.