When it comes to running, one of the biggest causes of injury is hip weakness. Due to our largely sedentary lifestyles, most of us don’t have strong hip muscles, which means they are vulnerable to injury. Even if you don’t run, there are lots of reasons to have strong hips, especially as you get older. Here are eight ways to strengthen your hips and keep yourself injury free:
1. Stand Up
If you sit down all day, you probably have weak hips. One easy way to lessen the negative effects of sitting down is to get up and move regularly. At least once per hour, stand up and take a lap around the office or house. Just moving around will strengthen your hips and generally keep you more limber.
You should be stretching every day, especially before and after working out. Incorporate a few good hip stretches into your routine to make sure your hips are strong and nimble. Opening up your hips with stretches will lessen stiffness and improve your performance in most exercises.
3. Exercise Regularly
Any weight bearing exercise, like running, dancing, and hiking, will increase bone density in your hips, making them stronger and more resistant. Staying active by doing exercises you like will prevent bone loss as you get older, meaning you’ll be able to stay on your feet for as long as possible.
4. Hip Exercises
Try incorporating some hip exercises into your strength training routine. This is probably the best way to get stronger hips, and it will help negate the consequences of sitting all day.
5. Side Leg Raises
Lie on your side on the floor or a mat, with your legs on top of each other. Lift your top leg up 45 degrees, then lower it back down. Do 15 reps, then switch legs.
6. Bird Dogs
Start on all fours on a mat. Lift your right arm straight out in front of your body while also lifting your left leg and extending it out behind your body. Return to the start position, and repeat 15-20 times for one set, then switch sides.
7. Hip Hikes
Begin by standing on your right foot, with your left foot raised. Drop the left side of your pelvis a few inches while maintaining your balance. Then, lift your hips back to a level position. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Drinking milk and other dairy products is one of the easiest ways to get enough calcium in your diet, though you can also get it from leafy greens. Calcium keeps your bones strong, and if you don’t get enough, your body will sap it from your bones, weakening them. Try adding a cup of yogurt to your lunch to keep your calcium levels up.
9. Give Up Smoking
Smoking has been linked to bone loss, especially in older people. The carcinogens in cigarettes stimulate the production of osteoclasts, which are cells that break down your bones. Giving up smoking can be incredibly difficult, but there are lots of tools to help you out.
10. Sit Up Straight
Seriously. Sit up with both of your feet on the ground and your back straight. Sitting down all day may be hurting your hips, but you can minimize the damage by having proper posture. It may be hard to maintain good posture at first, but as long as you keep it up, your core will actually get stronger, making it easy and second nature.
11. Learn How To Run Correctly
As it turns out, many of us make critical running mistakes that increase our chances of injury. One of the main mistakes runners make is the “hip drop.” Basically what that means is that each time your swing your rear foot forward when you run, that hip is dropping a few inches. That constant torque on your hips is bad for them. Your goal should be to minimize the vertical displacement of your body’s center of gravity as you run, keeping your hips and core stable.