Modern man is entirely focused, if not somewhat obsessed, about being mobile. We connect with friends, check email, play games, and upload to our social media accounts right from our mobile phone. We can conduct entire businesses from a laptop, and bring that business with us wherever we go, so long as there’s an Internet connection.
At this point in history, we are so dependent on our mobile devices that we go through great measures to make sure nothing ever happens to them. And, should our laptop or smartphone break, we get them fixed immediately, or get new ones.
If only we gave as much thought and effort to joint mobility.
While many people don’t think twice about spending two or more hours a day playing games or watching videos on their phone, these same people find spending a half hour each day exercising too much of a commitment. Ignoring our physical fitness is all too easy to do.
And then one day, we wake up and notice our joints ache and we can’t walk up a flight of stairs without experiencing pain. That’s when we begin to realize just how important joint health is to a good quality of life.
Our hips, in particular, are involved in so many of the basic movements of life: climbing stairs, bending, squatting, walking, and sitting. One of the most important things we can do for our health and quality of life is to maintain maximum hip mobility.
Stop Sitting So Much
Before I get into the specific stretches that you should do to keep your hips flexible, let’s start by discussing what you should do less of: sitting.
Most of us sit far too much. We sit when we drive, work, and watch TV. While it may seem comfortable at the time, sitting negatively impacts our hip mobility by weakening our glutes and hip flexors.
Your hip flexors are key in the activation of your hips, and when they weaken, your lower back is forced to take over their job. And your lower back isn’t happy about this. Its job is primarily to support and stabilize your body, but it actually wasn’t designed for a ton of activity. And so the vicious cycle begins, where one body part picks up the slack for another weakened body part, and by doing so becomes weakened itself, and on and on.
The truth is, our hips are designed to generate a lot of power, so it’s incredibly important to maintain them. Stretching improves your hip flexibility and strength, which in turn improves your relationship with the rest of your body. When your hips are pain-free and work properly, movement becomes easy and life becomes better.
Whether you’re an athlete who wants to optimize their performance, or a grandparent who’d like to chase their grandkids around the backyard without pain, the following 5 stretches will help you loosen those tight muscles and regain some lost flexibility and mobility.
This stretch is often called the butterfly stretch.
Making sure both feet are flexed, sit cross-legged with the soles of your feet pressed against one another.
Gently pull your sitz bones back into position and lengthen your spine. You may be thinking, what the heck are the sitz bones? They are sometimes referred to as sitting bones, and they are two of the major bones that make up the pelvis. They are part of the pelvis that takes our weight when we sit. They are also the point of origin for our inner thigh muscles and hamstrings.
Now, gently lean forward into the stretch over your folded legs and slowly pull yourself down and out. Hold this position for a count of 15 seconds.
This second stretch builds on the first. Instead of having your feet flexed and pressed against each other, you will stack your feet on top of one another – first right on left, and then left on right. You’ll notice this slight adjustment will give you a totally different sensation in a different part of your butt and thighs. Some people who find the first stretch too difficult may actually want to start with this adjusted version.
Sit upright with one knee raised and bent in front of you.
Fold your other leg and place that foot on the upright part of your bent leg. Make sure your foot is flexed.
Adjust the position of this foot to lessen or increase the stretch, and when you find the position that feels good and not painful, press into the stretch a bit.
Repeat with the other leg.
Again, in an upright sitting position, have one leg stretched out in front of you, and your other leg bent and pulled into your chest. Make sure your feet are both flexed.
Now “hug” your bent leg as close to your chest as you can.
Repeat with the other leg.
Sitting upright with one leg straight out in front of you, bend your other leg and place that foot on top of your straight leg, flexing your foot.
Find a comfortable position, either sliding the foot of your bent leg toward your body or toward your knee. Once you find the most comfortable position, press your bent knee down just a little bit and lean forward into the stretch.
Repeat on the other leg.
Remember to breathe throughout all of these stretches and never force a stretch that doesn’t feel good. Also, it’s best to warm up before these stretches by hopping on a treadmill for 10 or 15 minutes, or going for a walk around your block.
Of course, we can’t talk about joint health without mentioning the importance if increasing the amount of Omega-3 in your diet. These essential nutrients are what fight inflammation, and it’s inflammation that causes joint pain and stiffness.
You can get more omega-3s into your diet by eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. Of course, if you don’t like eating fish, you can also get omega-3s through supplementation.
But not all omega-3 supplements are created equal. Some are not all that pure and taste awful (you know, fishy burps) and many on the market are simply not potent enough to give you the right dosage needed for joint health.
We highly recommend DuOmega 3&7. Not only does this supplement contain omega-3s for joint health, it also contains omega-7s for heart health. You simply won’t find a better supplement on the market. Click Here to try it for yourself – your joints and heart will thank you!