Ginger Daniels Movement Specialist
Hello and happy Valentine's Day!
With the upcoming LA Marathon towards the end of March, I was thinking today about four specific exercises/stretches that are great for runners as well as everybody else. You see, we all tend to get tight hips from sitting at our desks, or from sitting in the car. For those of us who run, the hips can become tired and tight from the action of running. A big part of why this may be happening is that the gluteus medius, on the outer part of the hip and pelvic structure that lies underneath the gluteus maximus, has a tendency to being weak and tight. The gluteus medius functions as an aide in hip abduction, or pushing away from your center so that in your gait, your knees do not knock together. You can see that keeping it strong on both hips is important for the symmetry of a runner's gait. A tight psoas muscle can also be a contributing factor to a weak gluteus medius, but whatever the case may be in your body, it is important to keep everything strong, flexible and properly aligned.
So here are four exercises that are sure to help the situation. REMEMBER, THESE ARE FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST RUNNERS! See the video below…
Number one: elevated gluteus medius hip lifts
Get on a step in your house or a curb outside, anywhere you can drop one leg down so that you can lower your body by bending one knee. Hips are parallel and square, and keep your spine aligned and your core engaged. This is working and strengthening the gluteus medius. 20-30 reps on both sides.
Number two: side lying leg lifts
Lie on your side, stack your hips and bring your legs slightly in front of you. Raising your top leg, straighten it completely and flex your foot, toes pointed down towards the ground with the leg parallel. The leg should rise up-and-down with the hips stacked 20 to 30 times and repeat, then switch to the other side.
Number three: Crescent kneeling stretch
Get into a lunge with the back leg kneeling down and the toes relaxed. Reach that same arm as the leg is back up and do a slight side bend. This gets the psoas muscle, hip flexor and quadriceps stretched as well. If this feels comfortable, bend the back shin off the ground and reach around and grab the foot, deepening the quad stretch. Do both sides.
Number four: cat/cow hip circles
Getting on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, start in a curled "cat" position and slowly stick your butt out to the side, circling the hips into an arch to the other side and back through a curled center. Go both directions.
NUTRITION TIP: Complex Carbohydrates for your run
Distance runners need fuel for their bodies so it is a good idea to try the following recipe…
Try steaming up some brown rice with vegetables and shrimp. Whatever your favorite veggies are, throw them in and a little shrimp for protein. This dish has a tendency to not weigh the body down… AND has just the right amount of complex carbohydrates to help you run the distance. If you like heat, it is a good idea to throw in some red pepper flakes… Studies have shown that this spice is particularly good for a runners recovery.
OPENING AND EXERCISING THE HIP REGION KEEPS THE SPINE HEALTHY, THE LOWER BACK STRONGER, AND CAN REDIRECT YOUR ENERGY INTO A POSITIVE GROOVE.
Move Well, Eat Well, Be Well,
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