Not long after Kona arrived in our lives, I began to notice a chronic ache in my knees and ankles. We joked that it’s because of my old age, but when it didn’t go away I began to worry.
With the puppy, I began to do a lot more hurried walking — quickly whisking her from the kitchen down to the lawn when I saw her on the verge of an accident, running over to pull her away from the curtains or cords. I tend to walk heavily when I’m in a rush, and I also don’t wear shoes in the house (it’s a Hawaii thing). Since I work from home, that’s most of the time.
What I did notice was that when I let my hips move more freely while walking, the pain would dissipate or go away completely. I looked into this and found out that weak hips really do cause joint pain, and that working those muscles can eliminate the pain all together. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we all have to go out and learn to hula. This isn’t a Hawaii propaganda blog, as much as it may sometimes seem so. You can try these exercises in your own home using a chair and a resistance band!
Swinging Lifts (left)
Targets the gluteus medius (on the outside of the butt)
Stand with your right leg in front of your left leg. Loop the resistance band around your right ankle, keeping it taut. Slowly lift your right leg behind you and out to the side at a 45-degree angle for a count of two. Lower for a count of two. Keep your knee straight and feel your butt muscles engage. Repeat 10 times, then change legs. Work up to three sets on each side.
Side Lifts (above, right)
Targets the abductor hip muscles
Tie a resistance band around the leg of a heavy table. Stand with your right leg in front of your left leg. Loop the band around your right ankle, keeping it taut. Slowly lift your right leg to the side, away from your body, for a count of two. Lower for a count of two. Keep your knee straight throughout the movement. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs. Work your way up to three sets on each side.
Even though I don’t often write about fitness, I decided to include this here because I know that a lot of us are getting back into our exercise routines after a summer of leisure, and I hope that we can all do it pain-free. One of the things I’m investing in this season is making Pilates a priority. What’s motivating you to get moving these days?