Once you incorporate this stretch into your daily routine, you will not only have a greater range of motion, you will also feel looser.
Hip pains are not uncommon, given how most of us spend almost the entire day in front of our computers, working. The amount of time we spend exercising or even moving our bodies has drastically reduced. With the pandemic, the amount of work has also piled up, which means our hips and backs are bearing the brunt of our busy schedules because we forget to take care of ourselves.
Yes, stretches are the best when you want to get rid of that pesky pain, but though we are familiar with stretches for our arms, legs, and abdomen, it's very rare that we've come across something that targets the hips and glutes. Stephane Mansour, a health and fitness writer, tells TODAY that there is "a great way to stretch and improve mobility in the outer hips and glutes."
Called the "figure four", it stretches outside your hips and your butt, as it "specifically targets the gluteus medius, which is the muscle that aids in hip movement and hip mobility and is responsible for stabilizing the hip joint." Once you incorporate this stretch into your daily routine, you will not only have a greater range of motion, you will also feel looser. "Increased flexibility means a decreased chance of injury, so consistently incorporating stretching into your daily routine can benefit you in the long run."
The stretch gets the name from the way your legs look when you are in position. First, you lay your yoga mat on the floor and then lie down on your back with your knees bent, but make sure your feet are flat across the floor. Now, take your left foot, and place it on your right thigh, so it resembles the number four. Once you're in position, grab your right leg with both your hands and pull your right knee towards you. Keep pulling, slowly, until you feel a stretch. While taking deep breaths, hold this position for 30 seconds.
Finally, you return to the starting position and repeat the same thing with the other side. However, it is important to note that some people can have a body that is a bit stiffer than others and it may take time for them to perform the stretch easily. So, instead of taking both your feet off the ground, you can keep one on the floor, and push the knee (of the leg on your thigh) towards the ground for a slight stretch. Switch, and repeat.
You could also rest one leg on the wall instead of the floor for the stretch.
Sure, it may be a bit intimidating to understand at first, but you don't have to force yourself into a position that doesn't come to you naturally. In fact, that can cause more harm than good. The most important thing here is to simply listen to your body. If you are unable to hold the position for ten seconds without experiencing pain, then you are doing something wrong. Remember, patience and persistence can go a long way in your fitness journey.
You may also try out these six sciatica exercises to relieve hip and back pain!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by kazuma seki