It should make you think that up to 50% of women and 25% of men are likely to suffer a bone fracture as we mature. This is largely due to fragile bones, but is also affected by our hip joints and muscles weakening and becoming less flexible as we get older.
It is no wonder that we should be doing what we can to avoid being one of the statistics. Rather do what you can to ensure that you will be in the ‘other’ 50% of women, or 75% of men!
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Keep in Mind:
Before starting any new exercise(s), we strongly recommend you follow the advice of the National Institute on Aging and consult your doctor.
What are Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors?
To strengthen your hips, you will need to do exercises to develop the muscles in your upper leg and lower body. You will also need to do stretches to help the muscles and joints become more flexible.
Both of these will make your hip joint stronger, so you will be able to move with ease and should have a greater chance of avoiding falls and injuries.
Benefits of Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
If you have strong muscles and flexible hip joints, you will feel more confident about moving around and even doing more challenging exercises. It will also help you to avoid falls and other injuries that may involve a bone fracture.
If you do injure your hip, proper rehabilitation, by way of an exercise programme, is very important to help you build up your strength again. This will mean that you should be able to resume your normal activities and not worry about hurting the joint again.
Hip exercises help to make your whole lower body stronger, which aids in improving your posture and your ability to do activities, which will help to keep your bones strong.
Before beginning any new exercises, it is best to consult your doctor.
For each of the exercises described below, you should do a number of repetitions. Begin with 10 on each side and add to this as you get fitter.
If you feel any pain in your muscles or hip joint, stop the exercise and consult a medical professional.
Hip Flexor Exercises for Seniors
With any stretching exercise, do not move any further than you find comfortable.
As you become more flexible, you will be able to stretch further.
Kneeling hip floor flexor
The kneeling hip floor flexor is a good exercise to stretch and strengthen your whole pelvis.
Because you are kneeling on one knee, make sure that the surface under your supporting knee is soft enough to support your weight comfortably.
When performing a kneeling hip floor flexor, you should try to keep your weight on your back, supporting leg as much as possible.
Bridges for Hip Strength
A bridge is an exercise that begins lying on a horizontal surface, such as a mat, or even a bed.
A bridge is performed in a slow, controlled manner.
The clamshell exercise should be done on a comfortable horizontal surface, such as a mat, or a bed.
When performing the clamshell exercise, make sure that your top foot remains touching the lower one.
Hip Mobility Exercises for Seniors
A hip circle should involve moving only your hips. The movement is from your waist.
When doing a hip circle, remember to keep your head and shoulders as steady as you can. Don’t move your whole torso.
Begin the Frankenstein walk by standing firmly on two legs.
If you are concerned about your balance, begin by holding onto something, such as the back of a chair, for support.
If you are not using the chair, you will walk slowly across the floor.
When performing the Frankenstein Walk, always begin slowly. Do not aim to touch your hand with your foot at first.
Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts
A Romanian dead lift can be done with the support of a chair, a counter or a bar.
As you work on the single leg Romanian dead lift, you can hold a weight in your hands. This will help you to drop from the waist strongly.
Exercises for Seniors with Hip Replacement
If you have hip surgery, it is very important that you do an exercise programme to rehabilitate your hip properly.
Your medical professional will give you a series of exercises to follow.
A heel slide is done sitting against something, so that you can stretch your legs out straight in front of you along the floor.
When you perform a heel slide, keep the movement slow and steady.
Marching on the spot is a rhythmic exercise that you should have fun with.
As your muscles get stronger, you can work on this exercise without the support.
When performing a marching exercise, alternate between your legs. Try to keep the rhythm of the movement quite regular.
Standing Hip Abduction
A standing hip abduction is a slow stretch and movement of one leg at a time, to the side.
When you perform a standing hip abduction, make sure that you keep your leg straight, with your knee facing the front.
Do not allow your leg to twist out or in.
Exercises for Seniors with Hip Pain (Including Chair Exercises)
Seated Ankle Rotations
For seated ankle rotations, you can either sit on a chair, with your feet on the floor, or you can sit on a bed/bench, with your legs dangling over the side.
If you sit on the chair, you will need to raise your foot slightly off the ground to do the exercise.
When performing a seated ankle rotation, keep your foot flexed by stretching your toes away from your leg as much as possible.
Knee to Chest
A knee to chest stretch is done lying down – either on a bed, or on a mat on the floor.
You can do this stretch with both legs straight, or with one leg bent.
When you perform the Knee to chest stretch, you can do it with one leg, or both at the same time.
The two knees to chest stretch is done in exactly the same way as with one leg, but bring both legs towards your chest and hug both of them to your body at the same time.
Seated Knee Raises
To perform a seated knee raise, you should squarely on a chair.
When you perform a seated knee raise, you can press down on the chair with your hands for support.
As you become stronger, try to avoid using your hands for the extra support.
Hip strengthening and stretching exercises are very important to help you to avoid injury, strain and even falls.
Follow an exercise programme diligently to make sure that you are in the ‘other’ 50% of women, or 25% of men, who should not suffer an injury!
Brewer, T (2016) 3 Hip Exercises for Seniors That Anyone Can Do, Uplifing Mobility: Mobility and accessibility experts
Cronkleton, E (2019) 14 Exercises for strengthening and mobility in the hips, Healthline Medically reviewed by Gregory Minnis, DPT
Gaya, C., Chabau, A., Guilly, C., Coudeyrebc, E. (2016) Educating patients about the benefits of physical activity and exercise for their hip and knee osteoarthritis. Systematic literature review Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Volume 59, Issue 3, June 2016, Pages 174-183
Lima, C.A., Sherrington, C., Guaraldo, A. et al. Effectiveness of a physical exercise intervention program in improving functional mobility in older adults after hip fracture in later stage rehabilitation: protocol of a randomized clinical trial (REATIVE Study). BMC Geriatr 16, 198 (2016).
Zhou, W., Lin, J., Chen, S and Chien, K (2019) Effects of Dynamic Stretching with Different Loads on Hip Joint Range of Motion in the Elderly, J Sports Sci Med. 2019 Mar; 18(1): 52–57.