Hip to Heel Strength and Stretch
This hip to heel strength and stretch is an easy way to overcome lower body weakness. Sometimes when we sit too much, our hips, thighs, and lower back can feel weak. This happened to me and I even got sciatic pain down my leg. I went to several physical therapy sessions. I even tried 4 different ones. The pain was persistent.
My leg muscles were too weak to stand, and with pelvic instability, it was a vicious cycle. The more I hurt, the more I sat. Standing or walking made it worse and it was very depressing. It seemed like I was getting weaker and weaker from my hips to my heels. I wanted to grow stronger and stretch at the same time.
Finally, after a lot of trial and error and several extra classes, I discovered a way to exercise while sitting in a chair. It doesn't use as much oxygen and will slowly build up muscle strength. It also lubricates your hip bones.
Before you begin
Start off by sitting in a chair. You can begin in a soft chair, but I have graduated to a kitchen chair. It helps to have a hard surface to push against. Place both feet on the floor. I do this exercise with bare feet. You might feel more stable in a shoe with a rubber grip.
Next, make sure your shoulders are level. Sit up straight and pull your shoulders up to your ears, then pull them back, and let them dropdown. Tuck your pelvis forward so that your back is flat. Exercising with sway in your back may cause pain or injury. Place your hands on top of your thighs. Take a relaxing breath and you're ready to begin.
Hip to heel strengthen and stretch
Press your heels straight down into the floor. Now push hard and feel your thighs lift as they engage. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. You can add more to this by squeezing your pelvic floor and glutes (or butt muscles) while you press your heels. Repeat as many times as you like. You may feel sore in the beginning. Doing the exercise when you feel stiff or sore actually helps you to get stronger, and it stretches the stiffness out.
Next, lift your right leg up until it is straight and press your heel away from you. Try to keep your back flat. Keep breathing. Relax when your thigh or back feels shaky. Repeat with your left leg.
This hip to heel strength and stretch is the smartest thing I've ever done. I injured my hip a few years ago and thought I would limp or use a cane forever. By using this simple exercise several times a day, I've been able to stand more easily and with less pain.
Be sure and check with your doctor before beginning anything new.
Make sure you're in a stable chair.
Make sure you're able to put your feet flat on the floor.
This is totally working for me and I took almost 400 steps yesterday. They were little steps, and I went very slowly. We have to be patient with our bodies while we're gaining muscle strength and stability. I hope this helps you gain hip and thigh strength too.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?