I hope you enjoyed last week's introduction to our series about mind-body health for people who are in their 70s, 80s, 90s, or simply have mobility or flexibility issues. This week, we present another exercise to add to the routine as you are practicing it.
There are a lot of ways you can do this stretch! Choose the specific posture that works for you.
Outer Hip Stretch
The outer hip stretch is very important for increasing the range of motion in the hips and legs. This improves your ability to walk, and is especially important in preventing falls and lower back problems.
The most advanced way to do this stretch is to simply put one leg on top of the other, grasping the top leg at the ankle with one's opposite arm. It is important to hold the ankle and not the top of the foot, or you might risk hurting the joint. (See: Picture 1).
If your leg is not able to lift this high (over the top of your other knee), then you need to modify the stretch by using any object, to make it easier for you until you are more flexible. For example, you can use a walker to support the leg, so that it is almost up over the knee, but doesn't require the person to strain themselves while completing the stretch. (See below: Pictures 2 & 3).
For individuals that can put one leg on top of the other, but who have trouble with their knee pointing up, we can practice bringing the knee down over time. To do this, you can use a pillow or other object for support (and remember the principle of 80% effort from last time!).
In this case, less really is more. By letting the leg rest on the pillow, the muscles relax, and you can achieve better stretching results. (See below: Picture 4).
If you want to watch me describe this exercise (for people of any age), you can watch this video.
That's it for this week! Come back next week for even more exercises to do for people in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and maybe even 100s!