We're all hipsters really. every one of us has a chance to protect those precious balls and sockets on either side of the groin so that later in life we won't need stainless steel substitutes. But you're going to need some professional detective work to know if you have a musculoskeletal imbalance that forces you to regularly carry more weight on one side than the other, a condition that will, over time, put unequal stress on your joints. Other potential hip-busters include being chronically overweight, developing osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. The time to take preventative steps is in your youth. Keep your bones and muscles strong. If you're worried about wear and tear that can lead to cartilage damage and osteoarthritis, MDs and holistic types alike suggest glucosamine sulphate . Studies show that 500mg taken three times daily might help prevent the development of painful joints.
What the Experts Say:
"Every time you take a step, a force goes through your body. Ideally, it's distributed through your whole body, but most of us have patterns like holding the chest or the pelvis rigidly that transfer the effect of that force into the hip joints. We need exercise programs geared to mobility so we get more balanced, efficient use of our bodies. That's what Feldenkrais teaches. (It also helps to) breathe in a very free, easy manner, to feel that sense of fluidity in the body."
MARION HARRIS , Feldenkrais practitioner, founder, the Feldenkrais Centre, Toronto
"Maintain proper strength and flexibility. Walking, cycling, a stair master or elliptical training, running, aerobics classes and dancing will all work the muscles around the joint . Do a regular set of exercises to maintain the gluteus strength. Make sure your activity involves a proper warm-up , cool-down and stretching routine for the muscles and tendons around the joint. If pelvic asymmetry is identified, see a physiotherapist first if a muscle imbalance is primary. However, if a mechanical imbalance is primary, then chiropractic treatments might precede the muscle exercise program."
IAN COHEN , MD, sport medicine physician, assistant professor, faculty of physical health and education, University of Toronto
"The body shifts structure according to direction from the brain. Shifting takes place to protect the nerves in some part of the body from irritation or damage. For example, when there is neurological irritation in the neck due to whiplash or a fall, the brain shifts everything below the neck to take pressure off the neck. Patients end up with hip shifting, scoliosis, uneven shoulders. Over time (the shifting) can cause wear and tear because certain parts have to assume a position that is not normal. But the cause can only be dealt with through adjustments. The number-one way to prevent hip problems is to take our children to chiropractors to ensure that their balance and the weight-bearing capabilities of both hips are equal."
STAN GORCHYNSKI , chiropractor, vice-president, Canadian Chiropractic Association, Toronto
"The pelvis has a lot to do with our sexual expression. To have good flexibility and mobility (in the hips) means feeling pleasure in your sexuality , in your sexual expression. You can cultivate that by masturbating and by deepening your breathing so that when you inhale your belly expands, getting you more into the feeling of your pelvic area. I think going for a massage, doing self-massage or exchanging massages with a partner or friend are all good, just to have the pleasure of your physical self."
AUDREY FULLERTON , bioenergetic therapist, Toronto
"The pelvis position, position of the spine and curvature of the neck are very important to the health of the hips. If one side of the pelvis is a little down, then the other is up, or it may be tilted forward or back. That stresses the hip joints. The bottom of the shoe is a dictionary of the hip. When they're uneven, the weight and movement are more on one side. If your head is not erect this also stresses the hips."
MAHYAR RAZ , senior Iyengar yoga teacher, founder, Iyengar Yoga School of Toronto