Hip mobility in older adults from a 62-year-old dancer

TLook long enough at Naomi Goldberg’s smile, and you’re bound to hear an oh-so-catchy catchphrase: “Motion is lotion.” For anyone who wants to stay healthy and active throughout their lives (and who among us isn’t?!), Goldberg Haas strongly believes in building previous momentum and never trying to break a streak of movement.

It’s a principle that powers her ultra-active professional life: At 62, she’s not just a professional dancer, she’s also an accomplished teacher, choreographer and founding artistic director of A Changing Demographics for Dance — a New York City-based professional dance company for older adults. with a special focus on dance artists. Who’s the best person to turn to for tips and tricks on maintaining—and gaining—hip mobility at any age?

Ask yourself: How am I feeling today?

“I measure my physical sensitivity every day,” says Goldberg Haas. “Really spend time thinking about how you feel on this special day, because today is not the same as yesterday.” Try a daily body scan to help tailor your workout regimen to what your body wants and needs at that moment.

Never skip that warm up or cool down

Make sure you allow at least 10 minutes each for a complete warm-up and cooldown (both of which Goldberg Haas swears by for long-term hip health and comfort).

When designing your warm-up routine, remember that as Goldberg Haas likes to say, “Movement comes from movement.” Start small, gradually add intensity, speed and range of motion.

Goldberg Haas begins with light dynamic stretches (never stationary), such as runner’s lunges, figure fours, and hip rotations, ie “bend your knees to bring them to the chest and then take them to the side.”

He will then bring his heart rate up by rocking, rocking movements and twisting sideways or diagonally. “I really like stretching the beat—highs and lows, finding the rhythm of your body,” she says. “And twists are very healthy for your spine and hip mobility.” If standing up straight isn’t available to you on a given day, Goldberg Haas strongly encourages doing any or all of the above while being present.

Practice yoga daily

Goldberg Haas recommends daily yoga to center yourself physically. This can help strengthen and increase awareness of the structures that surround and support a healthy hip. “Find a teacher who has a personality that you really like—one who pays attention to your movements,” she advises.

Try this “Happy Hips” flow to relax:

Be strong to get mobile

Strength and mobility are closely related, Goldberg Haas says: “The hips, buttocks, quads and lower back are common places where people’s muscles weaken as they age. I’ve seen it in myself and in students: weak muscles are tight muscles. You may need to strengthen before you feel more mobile.”

To build strength in these key areas, add at least 10 repetitions each of squats and high knees to your strength-training routine. Goldberg Haas recommends literally placing your hand on the target muscle as you work slowly and carefully, to check your form and progress.

Move until you feel better

Even if you’re having a bad day, pain-wise, Goldberg Haas encourages you to try some gentle movements: “It’s incredible how uncomfortable you feel when you do it. no Just keep moving through the stiffness and discomfort and you’ll feel better.”

It doesn’t mean going from zero to 100 if you don’t feel like it. (And, of course, consult a medical professional before trying to push through an injury, chronic pain, or tissue damage.) Start where you are and build from there. This was the winning strategy for Goldberg Haas: “It’s all about movement. I’ve been through everything.”

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