#5 How to Be a Hip Hiker... Keep those SI joints mobile.
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Bits of healthful information to easily incorporate into your life…
Good health to you!
Do you have low back pain? Do you feel stiffness in your hips when you walk? Do you want to be proactive in preventing this kind of pain and stiffness? If yes, then you may want to become a Hip Hiker. The Hip Hike is a simple stretch that you can do standing or laying down.
If you have had hip surgery or injury, check with your doctor before doing this stretch. It is always wise to get an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to determine the cause of your pain. Information found here is not meant to take the place of treatment recommended by your doctor.
At the junction between your lower and upper body there are two joints, one on each side of your spine, connecting your spine to your hips. You know those two dimples many people have just below the waist on their low back? Those mark your sacroiliac (SI) joints. Those joints naturally have very little movement but that little bit of movement is crucial. They are held together by strong muscles and ligaments that provide support and stability. Your SI joints absorb impact with each step you take. If you lose flexibility or strength in those joints, then the trouble begins.
How to Hip Hike. There are several variations on this exercise. I choose to show you this method because it is the simplest and you can do it anywhere and without equipment.
1 - Stand with your feet flat on the floor a few inches apart. Stand near a chair or table, you may need to reach out for balance.
2 - Keeping your legs straight, slowly hike one hip up toward the ceiling. This will create a space of a few inches between the bottom of your foot and the floor. No good comes from quick, forceful movements! Make your moves slow and gentle.
3 - Lower your foot to the floor and repeat with the other hip. Simple!
The look you are going for here is that of a penguin marching in place. But keep your head and shoulders still, not swaying from side to side.
Each hip should glide smoothly and painlessly as you hike it up and let it down again. However, likely one side will be more resistant than the other. It may not hike up to the same height. You may feel more stiffness on one side than the other. Hold the stretch a little longer on the side that resists. A little discomfort can be expected as with any exercise but if you feel real pain do not continue this stretch.
For strengthening, repeat 10-12 times before switching to the other side. For flexibility, do a couple of hikes on each side as many times a day as you think of it.
Once you understand how the Hip Hike works, you can do it while laying down on your back. Alternately hike your hips toward your shoulders in the same way you do while standing. It is a pleasant way to stretch before getting out of bed in the morning.
You may enjoy incorporating the movements described in my blog post Undulate! A Perfect Way To Start Your Day into your Hip Hiking routine.
Personally, due to an old repetitive movement injury, one of my hips hikes up about two inches higher than the other hip. Doing Hip Hikes are vital for keeping my hips from freezing up.
Hip Hiking takes minimal time, is easy, feels good and is good for you.
Good health to you!
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