Williston - (802) 860-4360
Burlington - (802) 657-7990
Shelburne - (802) 985-9360

Hip Tips For The Winter Months

Winter has been a bit funky and on the warm side this year - for those of us who look forward to a fresh layer of snow in the morning (or a clean sheet of ice), it's been a disappointment  While we might be doing less outside, we can't forget to take care of our bodies so that we're ready to jump into those favorite winter activities when the weather finally cooperates, whether that means snowshoeing, skating, skiing, snowboarding, or even walking with friends. It is very easy to get injured as we jump back into activities that we haven’t done for months. Add in the cold weather that causes our bodies to tighten up much more quickly, and winter can be prime time for injuries


Taking care of our hips is very important for injury prevention, particularly muscle flexibility because winter tends to lead to a lot of sitting and being stationary inside. We often see tightness Hip tightness is very common, which leads to limited motion in the hip & low back, poor body mechanics, and increased joint compression. These changes often lead to joint pain and the development of intra-articular issues such as labral tears and arthritis.  Many winter activities stress the muscles of the hip girdle either by requiring repeated hip flexion, as with snowshoeing & skating, or by working isometrically in a prolonged flexed position when skiing & snowboarding, thus perpetuating the cycle of muscle tightness and increasing your risk of injury. 


The best way to prepare your body for outdoor activities is a good warm-up consisting of dynamic stretches. For the hips, these could be:

1.      Single leg deadlift

2.      Lateral leg swings

3.      Hip openers


4.      Lateral lunges

5.      Backwards lunge into march


Each can be performed for 30 seconds per side and they do not require a lot of space or any equipment, so they are easy to do before heading out into the cold!


In addition to a good warm-up, it is important to end with a cool-down that also incorporates stretching to maintain good flexibility post-exercise.  These can be either dynamic or static, as the body is already warmed-up and the tissues are more malleable.  Some great hip girdle stretches include:

1.      Kneeling hip flexor stretch

2.      Piriformis stretch

3.      Pigeon pose

4.      Active hamstring stretch

5.      Standing iliotibial band stretch



Each can be done for 30-45 sec per side and like the dynamic stretches, they do not require any equipment and very little space, so they can be done almost anywhere!


As you get ready to venture around Vermont this winter, remember to take care of your body so that preventable injuries and pain do not keep you inside longing to be outside!