The 4-Stretch Test to Tell if You’re in Danger

The Hip ShifterThe Hip Shifter

What you’re testing: How well your hips can move together
How to do it:

  • On a soft surface, kneel with your knees spread as wide as they comfortably can, then lean forward and put your weight on your forearms.
  • Keeping your forearms on the ground, push your butt back and sit back into your hips (picture the movement of a porch swing). Hold for 2 breaths.
  • Come back to start and push your butt back again, aiming to go a little bit deeper.
  • Repeat the stretch 10 times.

You’ve got a problem if: Your butt is barely moving when you try to sit back the first time and you make hardly any progress after the 10th time, or you can’t get your knees wide enough to do the stretch at all.
The danger: When both hips are tight, chances are you’re tight everywhere. And that signals that you’re way too sedentary, since frequent and varied movement helps all of your joints move more fluidly, including your hips, says Norton, Jr. These are the types of problems you’d expect to see in elderly people whose main form of movement is standing up and sitting down, he adds. Flexibility concerns aside, a sedentary lifestyle is also linked to a host of health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure.