I've been on this weight loss journey for about a month and a half now, and while I've started to see some results I've also noticed my rate of weight loss slowing. I have a feeling that is due to several issues (I've been missing out on sleep for the past couple of weeks, not quite making it to 8 glasses of water a day, and experience a little more stress than usual - happy stress but stress none the less). There is also something physical going on that is affecting my ability to push myself further in workouts.
My hips are tight. I can feel it in my everyday movements, but I especially feel it while walking at an incline on the treadmill or doing high knees during my warm-ups. I do yoga, and so have noticed that the Warrior Pose is helping some with this issue. However, it's not helping quite as much as I'd like. I began researching the anatomy of the hip and pelvic region in a better attempt to understand why my hip area is tight and how best to stretch and warm-up this area. What I found is very interesting, and explains quite a lot!
I think it's very likely that I am experiencing what's called anterior pelvic tilt. It is why the curve of your back is too deep and your butt sticks out more than it should. This also causes your gut area to stick out a bit, so that you look too much like an S from the side. Thinking back, I remember someone saying something about this as we stood in line at P.E. class one day. I may have been in the 6th or 7th grade then, and another student made this observation. Of course I didn't think anything about it then. I wasn't even aware of how I looked when standing. Now that I think about it, I have had this issue for quite some time and I think it is the result of compounded side-effects from several different situations.
After reading a bit more on anterior pelvic tilt, I learned that it is most often caused by a sedentary lifestyle in which you sit for the majority of the day. That means that most people with desk jobs probably suffer from this condition to some degree. The fact that I seemed to suffer from it as early as 6th or 7th grade probably has to do with the fact that we sat a LOT as kids in school. Not only did we sit a lot (in every class, at lunch, on the bus, in the auditorium for assemblies and award ceremonies and even sometimes in P.E.), we sat on hard, wooden or plastic chairs or at hard, wooden desks that gave no support to the lower back or glutes. If we weren't sitting in chairs, we were sitting cross-legged on the floor with no attention being paid to posture or the rounding of our spines. So yay, thanks school for ruining my posture and core from an early age! *shakes head*
I was also hit by a car in the 4th grade. I was crossing the street out of getting out of the car to head over to school, and an old lady pulled out of her parallel parking space and picked up speed without paying attention to whether anyone was crossing the street. I fortunately twisted to my left (I'm not even sure how I had the presence of mind to do so, that had to be God and my mother and grandmother as angels watching out for me) so that she did not hit my side. Her huge old Cadillac ended up running over my right ankle though. Since then my right ankle has always been a bit weaker than my left, and my body has been out of alignment. I went to a network chiropractor for a while, and their assessment of my body's alignment issues was enlightening! My shoulders don't sit evenly, one hip sits higher than the other and is slightly twisted (to the left) when I stand tall, and of course the curve of my back is too deep. After I explained the car accident and how my body responded by twisting to the left to protect vital organs, they showed me that my body is still somewhat twisted in that way. I guess physical therapy after the accident didn't do a good-enough job of addressing that issue.
So the combination of being forever out of alignment from that accident, sitting on hard, unsupportive chairs and desks all through school and now sitting for a large portion of the day due to work has aggravated the anterior pelvic tilt that has existed for most of my life anyway. Fortunately (and this is the best part), correcting this condition DOES NOT require doctor's visits, medications or an excessive spending of money! There are simple things I can do right here at home, and even though I may spend a little money in support of what I'm doing, none of it is required and none of it needs to be spent on medicines!
I found an interesting site which explains all of the anatomy related to the lower back, pelvic, hip and upper thigh areas as well as what anterior pelvic tilt is, how common it is, what causes it and how to fix it. If you're curious or feel that you might be suffering from this issue, I suggest giving this link a look:
So, I can do a combination of stretches and strengthening exercises to begin to slowly correct the issue. The walking I'm doing, as well as my attempts to stand more during the day, are likely helping also. However, I know that my sneakers are old and weren't purchased with any expert 's help. They're probably not as supportive as they should be for my particular standing and walking style. So it may be worth it to have my standing and walking style evaluated to understand what type of shoes and in-soles may best support me while I stand and walk. That's probably the extent of the money I'd spend, either on custom inserts for my current shoes or new shoes altogether.
I plan to do the stretches and strengthening exercises twice a day (in the morning and before bed) for the next 2 months in order to specifically address this issue. Hopefully between that plan, getting better support for my feet and being more active in general I will be able to correct the issue and strengthen my core enough in time for summer time. I plan to enroll in a swimming class, but realize that this issue may affect how well I'm able to move in the water. So I want to begin addressing it before then.
It also helps me realize that many of the clients I work with in the future may suffer from the same issue if they sit a lot due to work, fatigue or being overweight / obese. So I'm am beginning some research now to understand how to address this problem in my clients before we begin a full-on fitness plan. It will mesh well with another idea I've had recently, so I can't wait to see how the two will work together!
All in all, I'm just glad that I have a better understanding of why my lower half sometimes can't keep up during workouts, why I start to feel tighter rather than more warm-ed up, and how to fix it without medicating or needing to see a "specialist" since that's usually the recommendation when you go to a doctor for an issue like this. No x-rays, scans, specialists or crazy meds needed.
Other Stretches for Your Hip Flexors and Hip Mobility:
If you're thinking your shoes or in-soles aren't supportive enough, I suggest taking the time to go to an athletic fitting specialist to have your foot size, shape, arch and gait analyzed so that you can get the RIGHT type of shoe. It may be more expensive than just picking up a pair of running or walking shoes from a Walmart or Target, but it will be money well spent when you wear out those generic shoes in a few months of regular physical activity. Check out these 2 types of stores to see if there is something similar in your area:
New Balance Sports
Fleet Foot Sports
***Don't mistake actual New Balance shoes for the ones you can get at any shoe store. They're quite different. At the actual New Balance store, they do a full analysis and measurement of your foot and gait to see if you pronate, supernate etc. They get you in the RIGHT shoes for the type of sport you're doing. They're also much more expensive than the generic New Balance shoes you can buy without an analysis, but the expense is worth it! My fiance used to work at a New Balance store, and those shoes were the best I've ever had for walking. They're quite old now though, so it's time for an update!
Curious, does anyone else feel like this issue may be holding them back in their workouts? If you're experiencing form issues with walking, running or strength training, this might also be why and may help you improve your form and therefore your performance!