Approximately three quarters of all hip fractures in Australia occur in senior women, making it essential for women to make lifestyle changes to prevent hip damage later in life. Exercise can help to strengthen and tone the muscles and bones, making a hip fracture much less likely as you get older. Try some of the following exercises to improve your hip health.
Build Strong Bones
Certain types of exercise can help prevent osteoporosis, a common reason for hip fractures in seniors. Weakening of the bones can begin in women as early as age 30 and speeds up after the menopause. However, this process can be slowed down using the appropriate exercises. High impact exercises to try, include sprinting and hopping on each foot. These put pressure on the bones to build stronger bone by building muscle tension. Older adults can try lunges which increase the density of hip bones.
Weak leg muscles can cause falls later in life which can lead to hip fractures. Toning and strengthening the leg muscles throughout your life can help to prevent this. Cycling, climbing, gymnastics and weights can all help to increase the strength of the leg muscle and prevent thinning of the upper femur. A British study published in The Lancet showed that thinning of the femur prevents shock absorption which is then transferred to the hip causing fractures. Again, this was more common in women as they age so sticking to an exercise regime into your senior years could prevent hip damage.
Keeping the hips mobile and reducing stiffness of the joints will also help prevent injury in this area. Yoga is a good place to begin if you feel that you are capable of this level of flexibility. Those who are slightly older may want to start with something simpler such as leg swings. Keeping your leg straight, hold onto something while swinging your leg forward and backwards. Repeat this but swing your straight leg side to side. Hip thrusts, lunges and squat stands, are also beneficial exercises for hip mobility.
Although many women may feel that strenuous exercise is not possible later in life, starting slow and gradually building up your fitness level can benefit your health as well as your hips. A personal trainer or structured gym regime can help you to prevent hip fractures in your senior years.