Whether you run, hike or bike trails, you use your hips more than normally. Trails demand strong and flexible hips, because they help keep your balance. Rocky, banked and otherwise unconventional terrains try your hips more than the average road. As you sit back with an ice pack on your hip, you might wonder how to prevent hip injuries. Stretching exercises can help keep your hips strong and flexible.
Stand straight and cross your right foot over the left. Reach high with your left arm and lean to the right until you feel a good stretch in your left hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch on the other side for the same duration.
Lie on your back, your fleet flat on the ground, your knees toward the ceiling. Cross your stretching leg (left) over your right knee. Then grasp behind the thigh of your non-stretching leg (right) and pull toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch for the other leg, also for 30 seconds.
Intermediate / Advanced
Stand sideways at a high curb or step, with one leg on it, the other hanging over. You may want to place your hands on your hips for balance. Bend the leg on the step and lower your hanging leg, without letting it touch the ground. Try not to bend at the waist; keep your back straight. You should feel a stretch in the hip of your leg standing on the step. Do 15 to 30 repetitions. Repeat for the other side.
Kneel, preferably on a soft surface such as a carpeted floor or exercise mat. Straighten your back. Step forward with your right foot, with your left knee remaining on the floor. Place your hands on the right thigh.
Make sure you are stable in this position, then slide your left foot back. You should feel a stretch in your left hip. Push your hips forward (confirm that straight body) and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat this stretch for the other side. Complete three sets.
Article Written By Lauren D. H. Miertschin
Lauren Miertschin earned her B.A. in liberal studies at California State University, Fullerton. Abandoning the corporate world for teaching, 11 years later she’s still at it, earning Teacher of the Year three times. She’s currently pursuing novel publications, and writes her own trail running and short story blogs.