It’s that time of year again. Time to work on a healthier lifestyle. For some of you that may mean just getting started into this whole running lifestyle, and for others, that means training for a 5K, half marathon, or marathon. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to run daily, and it also puts a lot of wear and tear on your body. While running is great for your health, it’s not the only exercise you should be doing. When you’re running, you’re usually only working within a single plane of movement – flexion and extension. This can create some imbalances within the hips and legs, making you more prone to injury, so it’s important to regularly perform some exercises that go beyond those movements, strengthening the supporting and stabilizing muscles throughout the hips and pelvis. So, here are 5 of the best hip exercises for runners to keep your body balanced and moving freely.
Side Leg Raises: Lay on your side with your legs on top of one another. Lift up the top leg to 45 degrees and lower it back down. Repeat 15-20 times per side.
Bird dog: Position yourself on the floor on all fours. Keeping your balance in mind and your core tight, lift your right arm and extend it straight out in front of you. While you have your right arm in front of you, lift your left leg and extend it behind you. Bring both your arm and bent knee back under your body so you’re on all fours again. Repeat this exercise 15-20 times on each side.
Hip Hikes: While standing on one foot, drop the right side of your pelvis a few inches downward while keeping your left side in a neutral position. Activate your left hip muscles by lifting your right side back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 15-20 times on each side.
Single-Leg Bridge: Lay on your back with both your legs bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift one leg off the ground and extend straight up while you raise your lower back and butt. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower back downwards in a slow controlled movement. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times on each leg.
Fire Hydrants: Position yourself on the floor on your hands and knees, then lift your right leg up to the side as if you’re a dog at a fire hydrant. Slowly lower down and repeat 10-15 times. Then repeat for the left leg. These 5 exercises can be done almost anywhere and can be a quick, easy addition to your routine. You’ll be amazed at how well it helps prevent injuries, and even can improve your run times and performance.