As you age, the range of motion in your joints decreases. This is particularly common among people who are older than 70, but everyone loses range of motion at different rates.
The good news is that you can keep your joints flexible through activities like strength training and stretching. Staying flexible will lessen your risk of pain and injury. It also makes it easier to perform day-to-day activities, like bending down to tie your shoes.
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Why Hips Need Stretching
The hips are especially prone to tightness from sitting often. If you have tight muscles in your hips, it can lead to:
- Achiness in your lower back.
- Neck tightness.
- Trouble standing up straight.
- Pain in your glutes, the muscles in your butt.
Try stretching every day to improve your flexibility and range of motion. It may seem like a lot, but you only need to spend a few minutes to benefit.
Four Standing and Seated Hip Exercises for Seniors
Looking for a good hip flexibility routine? It’s easy to stretch at home. Here are a handful of standing and seated hip stretches for seniors:
Hold onto something stable, like a countertop. While balancing on one foot, swing your leg forward and backward in a smooth motion. Try this 10 times on each leg.
Legs swings are also great to do from side to side. Stand on one foot facing your balance aid. Swing your other leg in front of your body and then out to the side, in a smooth motion. Do 10 times, then switch legs.
Knee to Chest
Lie on your back. Bend one knee and pull it up toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
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.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Start on your hands and knees. It will be most comfortable to do this stretch on a mat or carpet.
Widen your knees, bring your feet together, and begin to push your butt back until you’re sitting on your heels. Rest your forehead on the floor, with your arms reaching out in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds.
Best Practices for Stretching
There are some tips you want to keep in mind when doing any flexibility work, including these hip stretches for seniors.
- Warm up first. Five to 10 minutes of light activity, such as walking, will warm up your muscles. This will get them ready for stretching.
- Don’t take it too far. It might feel a little uncomfortable to stretch if you’re stiff, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you feel pain, back off the stretch.
- Keep breathing. It’s easy to focus so much when you’re stretching that you hold your breath. Be sure to breathe through it to relax into the stretch.
- Talk to your doctor. If you have any chronic conditions, such as arthritis, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can help you find the best stretching routine for your body.
“Four Types of Exercise Can Improve Your Health and Physical Ability." National Institute on Aging. Link
“Hip Conditioning Program." American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Link
“How to Identify and Correct Tight Hip Flexors." International Sports Science Association. Link
Kirk Charles. “Men Over 40 Should Embrace Their Inner Child for a Better Feeling Back." Men's Health. Link
“The Importance of Stretching." Harvard Health Publishing. Link
Wen-Sheng Zhou et al. “Effects of Dynamic Stretching with Different Loads on Hip Joint Range of Motion in the Elderly." Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. Link
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