There are many reasons for achy hips and backs but common reasons have to do with too much repetitive movement or lack of movement/ sedentary living.
The extremes of living on both ends can cause back and hip flare ups that are painful and debilitating.
The joke in the gym amongst my clients when I come in to train them while feeling stiff and achy is that I tell them I over trained on the tennis courts. This answer works like a charm, because if I tell them I sat on my bottom all day long writing, it is not too impressive – especially when you are telling them what to do to keep in shape. Training hard in sport is so much more respectable, so I always go with that as a reason! You may find it can work for you too!
Below are 3 exercises that are daily musts for alleviating the pain and inflammation due to extremes of lifestyles whether you find yourself suddenly overactive, or suddenly inactive. Regardless, maintaining a daily regimen of these exercises goes a long way in preventing long term hip and back issues. And one last note: Do these exercises more often daily if you are in moderate back and hip pain. A good guide to follow is simple – if you feel better as you do the exercises then continue. If it feels worse then discontinue and try the next day. If still no improvement then seek a doctor to check on common ailments like herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
Bridging, strengthens core muscles of the lower back and buttocks, while stretching the hip flexors.” The hip flexors, or psoas muscle area, play an important role in keeping the lower back strong and healthy.
- Begin this exercise by lying on your back.
- Bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the floor and keep your arms at your side, against the floor.
- Gently lift your pelvic region into the air, as high as you comfortably can.
- Hold for several seconds.
- Return hips to ground.
The Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt increases range of motion and flexibility of the pelvic region. Like the previous exercise, the pelvic tilt helps to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic and abdominal regions, which can provide the support one needs to avoid back pains and strains.
- Begin this exercise on your back.
- Bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the floor and place your arms across your chest area.
- Contract your abdominal muscles by tightening and squeezing in that area while pressing your lower back to the floor, so there is no space between the floor and your lower back.
- Be sure to keep breathing normally as you contract these muscles. Beginners often tend to hold their breath during this exercise.
- Hold for 1-3 seconds, while breathing normally.
- Relax and repeat up to 10 times, or as many times as you are comfortable.
The Cat and Camel Stretch
Like with the previous exercises, breathing plays a key role in the cat and camel stretch.
- Begin this exercise on all fours, with your knees and hands on the ground.
- Start to round your back with your head down while exhaling. This position should resemble a frightened cat with their upper back rounded near the neck.
- Reverse this position by allowing your back to relax and lower. This should resemble the valley between a camel’s two humps.
- Be sure to inhale and exhale as you move through this exercise.
- Repeat up to 10 times, or as many times as you are comfortable
Exercises like these will be helpful for people with arthritis by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints. And Importantly, these exercises, if done several times while seated for long periods of time ( at the computer for example) will keep back and hip stiffness at bay. Perhaps most importantly though, these exercises can be flaunted as a status symbol that you exercised vigorously in athletics such as with tennis, running, golfing and other sports that push the body in rigorous ways. As you know, it’s not age causing you to be more stiff, it’s that rigorous lifestyle of yours! That’s my story and I am sticking to it!