After a challenging day of backpacking, many people experience soreness around their hips. While sore hips are an extremely common problem for hikers and backpackers, the pain can put a damper on the rest of the trip. Thankfully, there are solutions! Let’s talk about what causes sore hips, then we’ll break down what you can do about it.
Our hips are key for powering the action of walking. They propel our legs forward and keep us stable and balanced. When you spend a long day out walking in the mountains, that adds up to a lot of hip exertion.
But it’s not just the long days. Backpacking adds another key ingredient: weight. Most of us don’t carry around 20-30 extra lbs for hours (or days!) at a time, but that’s exactly how we’re spending our days out on the trails. Our hips have to work much harder to power us with that much extra weight.
The Tutu Test came together after one of this year's Ski Babes asked for some help identifying if she was using her outer glutes or not.
I had just taught a Halloween Ski Babes workout in costume (sweaty ballerina) and realized how helpful it was to be wearing a tutu when demonstrating proper hip alignment!
And so the Tutu Test was born. :)
The goal of the Tutu Test is to help you identify if your outer glutes are doing their part in stabilizing your hips.
And if they're not, I've got techniques in this video to help them pick up the slack.
When you're able to activate your outer glutes, you take some of the load off your IT Bands (if you have a chronically tight IT band this might be part of what's happening).
You'll also have better luck keeping your knees in alignment over your ankles, which is a huge part of helping prevent knee...
Pregnant folks, this one's for you~
Finding the right kinds of movement for your body as it adjust throughout pregnancy can be a moving target. That's why I recommend that all of my pregnant clients develop a daily mobility routine that feels good in their body and can act as a bit of a barometer to check-in with yourself. How are my hips today? Can I connect to my pelvic floor? Any new aches or pains? What's feeling good?
Notes about pelvic floor work: pregnancy is a beautiful opportunity to learn to contract & relax your pelvic floor muscles, though I'm a firm believer that there are huge benefits for everyone, especially women, in connecting with their pelvic floor. Pelvic floor work can help with anxiety (when we relax it, we send a relaxation signals through the whole nervous system), trauma recovery, insomnia, and digestive health, among other things.
Now that you're building a baby, though, it's extra important that you start solidifying your...
Hip soreness during and after a long day backpacking can be a real bummer! It's a very normal occurrence, though, due to the stress we put our hips under when carrying our camping gear & food weight around in our backpacks, all while hiking around the mountains.
With a heavy pack, the weight's got to go somewhere... and in the process of trying to save our shoulders, we might be passing on the problem to our hips. The good thing is that our hips, more than our shoulders, are designed to carry weight. But sometimes after long days of this kind of thing, the hips also get tired, achy, and sore.
I've been personally having problems with sore hips after long backpacking days, and when I mentioned the issue to my friend & Physical Therapist Shasta Hood, he said to try thinking about it as an IT band issue. When we tighten our backpack's hip belt, we're also pressing at the area that the IT band moves through, in effect shortening the IT band.
If you have tight hips, sore knees, stiff ankles, or an aching back, especially in the mornings, this video is for you! This is an easy sequence you can do to get the blood flowing, increase mobility, and let go of some of that morning stiffness that we so often start the day with.
Best part? You don't even have to get out of bed to do it. Start your day by taking care of your knees, ankles, hips, and back... before you've even gotten out of bed. It's the gentlest, coziest self-care around.
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