As I transitioned from being a triathlete to a dancer, I very quickly became aware of my body’s limitations. Whenever my dance teacher would invite me to move my hips or isolate my rib movement from my lower body, I found myself physically stuck and mentally frustrated. Would I ever be able to move in directions other than just forward and back? Could I find the flexibility to smoothly and enjoyable rotate my hips or ribs? Luckily, after years of dance training, focused attention, and GYROTONIC® movement training I have been able to realize the wonders of flexion in my hips and torso.
The hips are designed to move, and the more they do the stronger and more mobile they become. While dancers understand this, it applies to all bodies. It has been said that if we don’t move, we increase the inability to move. In other words, if we rest, we can rust. Tight hips don’t just prevent a dancers’ ability to execute beautiful turns; they can also make everyday movements harder, or even painful for everyone. With a sedentary lifestyle, or even one where sitting occupies a large portion of the day, hips lose their natural elasticity, opening doors to chronic discomfort or pain.
Evolutionarily, our bodies were not meant to be office dwellers. Walking conditions the hips for strong movement in one range. When you sit, the muscles become lax and gradually lose tone. Also, sitting for hours can tilt the pelvis, creating pressure in the lower spine and changing the position of weight-bearing surfaces in the knees. All of the above can be precursors to injury. Any imbalance in the hips can relay up the spine and down through the legs, which can cause pain and affect the stride and other activities.
The solution to averting a downward decline is exercise. The exercises should combine stretching and strengthening that helps discover areas of tension and then gently correct them. The hips are the body’s largest weight-bearing joints. They transfer weight and force between your upper and lower body. They are a fulcrum point, like the shoulders. So, keeping them flexible is crucial. Stronger, more flexible hips contribute to better posture, more confident carriage, a smoother stride, greater power for athletic activities, and of course, a lovely grace in dance. I encourage everyone to get out and move your hips through activities such at GYROTONIC or GYROKINESIS® exercise, or dance. Have fun and stay healthy with those hips!!