If you suffer from hip pain, Pilates is an excellent way to remedy discomfort. Often caused by issues with nearby muscles, ligaments or tendons, hip pain can also be referred from the lower back. While it may be tempting to keep the area immobile, in fact, a Pilates practise can decrease pain significantly. This is because the joint itself benefits from gentle yet deliberate movement.
Inside this large, weight-bearing ball and socket joint, the surfaces of the hip bones are covered by a thin synovial membrane, which lubricates the joint and nourishes it. Pilates activates this healthy process which keeps the hip limber.
Certain stretches and exercises also increase flexibility and builds strength in the surrounding muscles, such as the hip flexors. This group of muscles allows you to lift your knees and bend forward from your hips. Sitting in a chair from long periods of time causes the flexors to become tight, as they stay in a shortened position. This often causes pain and makes them more prone to injury, especially for runners due to the repetitive movement. There are many hip-strengthening exercises in Pilates that can prevent the muscles from weakening, and many stretches that can encourage muscle health. All benefit the hip joint immensely.
Here are three gentle movements that can be carried out easily and effectively from home.
- Bridges: lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly on the floor. Your arms should be down at your sides. Squeeze your glutes, press down into your heels and then lift your hips up off the floor towards the ceiling. Hold for a moment and carefully lower down to the ground.
- The Clam: this movement increase hip joint mobility. On your mat, lie on your side with your knees bent 90 degrees. Your hips and shoulders should be in a straight line. Using your arms to support you, slowly rotate your upper leg, so that your knees move apart – keep your toes together. Slowly bring your knee back down to the start position.
- Kneeling lunge: on your mat, kneel in a lunge position. Make sure you have good alignment with your tailbone tucked in slightly and your body upright.
If you have any questions about hip health or want to find out if Pilates is for you, get in touch with Chris today to find out more about incorporating it into your training and to book an assessment class.