Hello, and welcome to our new blog series, "This or That," where we explore alternative exercises that can benefit you even more than the traditional ones. Today, I'm Dr. Ethan from Balanced for Life, and I'm excited to share four exercises that will provide relief for anyone who sits for long periods and experiences those nagging low back aches. These exercises focus on opening up and strengthening your hips, which play a significant role in your overall spinal health. Let's dive in!
Exercise 1: Hip Airplanes Say goodbye to normal hip circles and glute exercises. Hip airplanes are a time-saving movement that opens and strengthens your hips simultaneously. By resetting your hip stabilizers and relieving pressure off your back, this exercise is perfect for counteracting the effects of prolonged sitting. Stand on one leg, brace your core, and rotate your torso forward over the planted leg while kicking your back leg behind you. Focus on keeping your back leg straight and your planted leg slightly bent. Rotate your hips towards and away from your planted leg, moving from your hips, not just twisting your upper body. Feel free to use a chair for stability or challenge yourself by mimicking airplane wings with your arms.
Exercise 2: The Works If you're searching for an exercise that opens your hips and improves spinal mobility, look no further than "the works." Lay on your side with your top leg flexed ahead and the bottom leg extended behind you. Place both arms in front of you, and as you turn your body, imagine each vertebra unlocking, promoting flexibility and mobility.
Exercise 3: Flexy Hips These next two exercises take ordinary stretches to the next level, isolating specific hip muscles. We often overlook the importance of the hip flexors, which tend to shorten from prolonged sitting. To counteract this, try the forward lunge stretch with an added twist. Step forward into a lunge position, lead forward with your hips, and feel the stretch in the front of your hips. To deepen the stretch, raise your arm over your head, bend towards the side of your lunged leg, and lean back. You'll notice a greater stretch than with a standard forward lunge, as it targets the iliopsoas muscle, which can cause lower back irritation.
Exercise 4: Happy Hamstrings Forget the traditional standing hamstring stretch. Instead, try this seated variation for a deeper stretch without straining your muscles. Sit with one leg straightened and the other bent, resembling a sitting flamingo. With a neutral spine, bend forward slightly until you feel the pull behind the straight leg. Contract your quads (front muscles) to relax your hamstrings, allowing for a deeper stretch. Repeat this process a few times, ensuring you don't push yourself too hard.
Incorporate these four simple yet effective hip mobility exercises into your routine for a pain-free day. If you experience any discomfort or need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to us at the clinic.
Here at Balanced for Life, we believe that moving better matters.
Stay tuned for more "This or That" videos, and remember, your well-being is our priority.