Following up on my last column about stretching your body to help release tension, here’s another exercise, the Hip-Buttock Stretch, which focuses on stiffness that may develop in your lower back and hips.
1. To start: Lie on your back on a mat. Raise your legs into a 90-degree angle, with your lower legs parallel to the ceiling.
Place your right ankle over your left thigh. If necessary, use your hands to get your legs into position and then extend your arms away from your body, as shown in the photo above.
2. Hold the position for
20 seconds and if needed, use one hand to push the right, bent leg forward a bit toward your upper body.
This will further engage the stretch.
3. Then twist left, bringing your right foot past your left side and place the foot flat on the mat, as shown in the photo below.
With your left hand, gently push your right knee toward your torso a bit to further engage the stretch in the finish position.
4. Repeat with the sequence with your left leg.
Avoid arching your back. If the end position
is too difficult, stop at the first position and improve hip flexibility first until you are able to proceed to the second stretch.
Areas that will be stretched include the but- tocks; the piriformis muscle deep in the buttocks; deep hip rotators; lower back and the thoracolumbar fascia along your spine, above and below the waist.
Disclaimer: Do not begin any physical activity described in this column without prior approval from your health care professional.