Hip problems can affect people of all ages and can be the result of various underlying causes such as arthritis, sciatica, ruptured discs and even congenital problems. Although a doctor should always be consulted before beginning an exercise regimen to ensure it will improve your particular hip problem, there are several gentle hip exercises that can help to strengthen the general area and improve control and balance.
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Bound Angle Pose
The bound angle pose is a gentle yoga exercise that stretches the hips and improves strength, posture and flexibility in this area. It can also help to relieve tension and pain from sciatica. Start by sitting on a low cushion or folded blanket on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly draw your heels in toward your groin as your knees drop out to the sides. Bring your heels in as far as you comfortably can with the soles of your feet together and sit up straight as your lower body relaxes into the pose. Hold the position for up to five minutes, then release. Do this every day. Aim to progress to the full pose--soles of the feet together, heels resting just in front of the buttocks and knees resting on the floor.
Lying Leg Raises
Lying leg raises improve hip mobility, relieve pain from pinched nerves and strengthen the core muscles of the waist and legs to take pressure away from the hip joint. They can be performed lying in bed, making them ideal exercises for people with reduced mobility. Start by lying on your back with your hips supported by a thin cushion or folded blanket and your arms down by your sides. Press your knees and ankles together and slowly raise both legs up toward the ceiling as far as you can comfortably manage. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat five times.
Step ups help to stabilise the hips by strengthening the muscles that support them while moving the legs. By using a large platform to step onto, the mobility and range of movement of the hips can also be improved. To perform the exercise, stand facing a low step or stable platform. Step onto the platform with your right foot and push through your heel to bring your left foot alongside the right. Step back down with your left foot, then the right. Repeat the exercise, alternating the lead foot each time, until you reach fatigue. Aim to progress to a larger step, and try holding a light dumbbell in each hand as your strength increases.
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