Having strong hip and core muscles is important at any age for general health and fitness. Children run around, they climb and delight in how they can jump over an obstacle, they play tag, skip! This is innate to them.
As we advance in age, we become more sedentary as there are increased responsibilities such as looking after the family, working and having less time for ourselves or to move around.
Once our children have found their own path in life, the habit of exercising, or moving as I prefer to call it, may have been reduced for such a long time that it is not in our awareness to do much of it. And as we age further, due to a lack of moving, muscles have lost flexibility and strength.
Benefits of strong muscles
- Greater stability and balance: these lower the risk of injury such as falls
- Stronger centre of gravity helping stronger support for the spine
- Improved reactions when losing your footing
It is important to keep using all muscles in our body. The core muscles, just because of where they are, help our movement.
In today’s world we sit a lot at work, in the car, public transport, etc. This means that hip muscles are passive and not used much.
When we do walk, it is often at a leisurely pace which means we tend to not open the hip joints. After years of ambling thus taking smaller steps, hip muscles stiffen and weaken.
As we age further, this muscle weakness leads to a loss in balance control and when we miss a step, we may fall or suffer a serious injury as there is little strength to correct our posture and we topple.
There are simple exercises that can be done at home, in the kitchen or walking to the shops or even whilst sitting at your desk. They do not need take much time out of your day and they help regain strength and flexibility in the hip and core muscles. A new routine need only to take about 15 minutes daily, certainly when many can easily be incorporated within existing activities.
Always perform these movements within your capabilities without hurting yourself or overdoing it. It is better to repeat each 2 to 5 times to start with until you have built some muscle strength and then gradually, the number of repetitions can be increased. So, start slowly if these are new to you.
Whilst concentrating, it is easy to forget to breathe, please do breathe as this improves oxygen supply to muscles.