Happy Hips, Peaceful Pelvis

Do you remember sucking on your toes? (I hate to tell you this, but I think I was able to do it until I was 12 years old. I know. TMI. Really though, our hips are made to move and Maddie on the left, is proof.

I recently read an article about stretching for seniors. The author said that as we age our muscles become shorter and lose elasticity. True, but why? In short, too much adult-ing: we sit more and move less, and, we have been doing it for 30, 40, 50, 60 years.
Both of these can affect the structure of your bones and muscles. We need to move, but the trick is to do it safely so that we can do whatever type of exercise we like.

So, what do the hips and pelvis have to do with each other?

Well, take a look at the diagram on the right. This is a picture of the pelvic floor, which shows the muscles we tighten when we do “kegel” exercises (you know, pretend that you have to urinate and stop it.) Many of us still do the tightening now, all the time, even though our baby is 35 years old. So how come even though we’ve been diligently squeezing at stoplights for years we now have dribbling and pain during sex? It’s because these muscles are now are not only weak, but tight. What do you think would happen to your biceps if you held your elbow closed for 35 years?

Muscle strength comes from being able to shorten a lengthened muscle. If the muscle is already short, it can’t get any shorter or stronger. Also, notice how close your hips are to the muscles in your pelvis: the hip socket is above the pelvis and to the side. Some of the muscles that move your hip come from your pelvis and vice versa. If one is tight and weak, the other is too. These muscles are not only related to your hips, but to your back, knees, and feet. If you are overusing or holding one area, chances are that you’re doing it elsewhere, too.

How many of you have been stretching your hamstrings for 25-plus years before running, walking, yoga, or dance? Is it working? Do your hamstrings, in the back of your hip, or your muscles in the front of your thigh, ever get longer? No they do not. They get tighter. There is a difference between stretching and elongating…and that’s the key difference between exercise and health.

Movement Teacher, Beth Rubenstein MS, PT, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

Come find out how to make your pelvic muscles more effective as you age. Discover how to guide yourself in a gentler way so you can alleviate pain and stiffness while moving with ease and joy!

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