I want to start with thanking all of you who took the time to provide comments, questions and suggestions from last months ‘New Beginnings’. Within the first hour of sending out the blog I had received 16 emails and two phone calls! The messages and conversations then kept on coming. Wow! What a wonderful and welcome response!
As promised in July’s edition, this month we’re looking at hips. Like many things with your body, you don’t know how useful parts are or indeed what you even need them for, until they start to misbehave. So what are the warning signs that all is not well before hip pain actually hits?
Imagine it’s a lovely day and a picnic is laid out before you. If the thought of gracefully ‘plonking’ yourself down on the ground fills you with dread, read on. If on the other hand, you’re thinking “Pah! I can so do that.” Would you do it in a way that benefits your hips? Would you make me proud…..?
The early warning signs include:
- having to sit down to put your socks or trousers on
- struggling to sit and reach your foot, especially in the morning
- avoiding sitting on the floor wherever possible
- preferring to use one leg in preference to another to climb a gate/stile or step over an
If any of these sound familiar or similar challenges are presenting themselves, it’s possible at best your hips are stiffening up or worse that there is some underlying problem. That’s the bad news.
The GOOD news is that in most cases once you recognise warning signs you can do something significant about improving the situation.
Back to your picnic (chocolate cake, can’t beat it). My stick men with their new improved smile (who, according to some, could do with being fed the chocolate cake) will demonstrate possible postures that could help your hips IF you do them gently for short periods of 30 seconds then change position.
1) Cross legged sitting:
Lean forwards, raise breast bone up, shoulders back. To help ease back pain try sitting on a folded towel.
2) Side sitting to the left and to the right:
Sit up straight, raise breast bone, shoulders back. To ease discomfort in your back or groins try leaning more onto your outstretched hand and/or try sitting on a folded towel.
If you get up from these exercises using the same leg, change legs each time.
If your reluctance to sit on the floor is the effort required to get back up again, then PROVIDED nothing hurts or strains while you do it, the more you do it (even if you have to lean on something) the more your muscles will strengthen and your joints free up. For those of you who “know” that you could get off the floor but rarely do it, how will you:
- a) know if you are stiffening up?
- b) fully stretch out your hips to keep them healthy?
- c) maintain the muscle strength required to do these movements?
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit on the floor once a day, 30 seconds cross legged, 30 seconds side sitting to the right then to the left.” This message will NOT self-destruct in 30 seconds.
…….I’m just back from doing it myself. I was stiffer side sitting left, so will need to work on that.
Few things make me as happy as watching people using their muscles as opposed to simply wearing them. I am a BIG fan of people tightening their buttocks at every opportunity (my husband worries) but they are the scaffold that protect and power your hips.
As you sit or stand reading this, straighten up (you should all be experts after last months’ homework) and squeeze your buttocks. Repeat about 4 times. Try and associate doing this gem of an exercise with a daily task to help prompt the grey matter to do it regularly. For kicks try squeezing one at a time. Quite a party piece I can tell you…
Next month we are looking at your neck. Are there warning signs or do you already have a problem? Watch this space.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above or regarding some other health issue, please feel free to contact me either by email or through the contact form on my website. Alternatively give me a call. It’s always good to talk!