Unfortunately, most of us have lost not only the strength of these important muscles, but also the flexibility and mobility of our hip joints. We've effective lost our engines. Not only do they not have any power to give us, but they are rusted and sticky. When we can't use our hips, then we have only two options. We either don't do much activity at all, or we risk severe injury when we do so. If you can’t rotate your hips very much, then to throw a baseball or to swing a golf club is begging for an injury. All the rotation is forced into the knees or into the low back (or both), causing excessive demand on these poor regions of the body and causing injury. In fact, the most common cause of both low back and knee injuries are poor hip motion and strength.
If we try to run without the help of our hips, then all the force of pounding on the ground gets absorbed by the other parts of the body, instead of by what should be the powerful shock absorbers of our hip muscles. We end up with arthritic knees, aching shins, and injured spines.
The bottom line is that maintaining and restoring one's hip mobility and strength is one of the most important ways of preventing injuries and prolonging one's ability to stay active. There are two main things to do. First we need to keep and improve the range of motion of our hips. Gently moving the hips through their range of motion on a regular basis is absolutely necessary to maintain their ability to move. Without motion, there's no hope of keeping them flexible or strong.
In addition to gently moving the hips, we must also keep our hips strong. There are many ways to strengthen the hips, but the most effective way is to do squats. As much as I'd love to see everyone holding a heavy weight to do deep, below-parallel squats on a regular basis, I know this is not going to happen. Fortunately, we can keep our hips strong enough for daily life without even using weight. Just squatting down, as low as we safely can go, five to ten times per day, can do wonders for hip strength. We all have very little excuse to not put in this small effort to keep our hips healthy.
In the hip routine and in the leg routine of ACTIVE100™, we work with the necessary range of motion and do the necessary hip strengthening to maintain and restore the hips to a high level of functioning. I encourage everyone to check them out. But either way, everyone should be doing some basic hip motions and a few squats on a regular basis if they want to stay active and free of injuries. We should all think about our hips on a daily basis, thank them for their great service to us, and do a few things to tend to their needs. The hips are just too important to waste.