After a workout, stretch those hips

  • Chicago Tribune
  • December 13, 2012 - 6:22 PM
After a workout, stretch those hips

The more active and fit you are, the more you need to put time and attention into stretching your hips. Here are two simple ways to target the hardworking muscles in your buttocks. Not only are these stretches effective, but they feel great after a tough workout.

1. Lie face up on a padded surface or yoga mat with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Bring your right leg toward you and wrap your right elbow (or wrist) under your right upper calf and your left elbow (or wrist) under your right ankle. Keeping your hips and shoulders on the floor, externally rotate your right thigh away from you as you gently move your right ankle toward you. Slide your left leg straight out in front of you. Pause and breathe in the pose for three breaths.

2. Bend your left leg and rest your right ankle just above your left knee. Move your right arm through the space between your legs and clasp your hands around your left shin (or behind the thigh if your hips are tight). Flex both feet and gently pull your left knee closer to your chest as your right knee pushes away from you. Hold for one to two minutes. Release your arms, return to the start position and repeat on the other side.


Moderate exercise can help arthritis

For people with arthritis, aches and pains can make movement difficult, which can affect proper exercise. With arthritis, the cartilage that normally cushions the joints is broken down, eventually leading to restricted movement.

Research has shown that physical activity can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with arthritis. One study at Tufts University found that people with severe rheumatoid arthritis could safely increase their strength with a modest weight-training program. Participants exercised for 12 weeks and increased strength by roughly 60 percent.

General guidelines:

A well-rounded exercise program includes a warm-up and cool-down, gentle stretching, light-weight resistance exercises for muscle strengthening and low-impact aerobic exercise.

Water exercise such as swimming laps or aqua-aerobics is joint-friendly. Pushups, arm circles, leg lifts and other resistance exercises using surgical tubing or elastic bands can be used. Stretching helps to keep joints mobile and can be very helpful for those with arthritis.

Get your doctor's clearance before beginning an exercise program.


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