Did you know that the hip joint is one of the most common sites of joint pain and osteoarthritis? This is because we rely so much on our hips to carry our body weight and manage basic, daily movements such as walking and running. That’s why it’s so important to maintain hip strength and flexibility as we age. However, if you are experiencing hip pain as you age it may seem too difficult to give your hips the exercise that they need each day. In this article, we will share some simple, low-impact hip pain exercises that you can do at home to help build up strength and flexibility.
First, let’s get to know our hips a little bit better! The hip joint is a “ball-and-socket” synovial joint, which means it allows for a wide range of motion. Each hip joint is responsible for bearing the weight and managing the movement of the lower half of each side of the body. Healthy hip joints are able to accommodate more intense movements such as running or jumping. When hip joints are weakened and/or inflexible, which can happen over time from prolonged sitting or lack of exercise, it becomes more difficult for them to perform their daily functions without strain or discomfort.
By keeping your hip joints strong and flexible, you are helping them keep up with your body’s needs as you age. When your hip joints are in good shape, you can enjoy a larger range of pain-free motion while reducing the inflammation that can cause arthritis. That said, it is important to modify hip exercises as you age based on your body’s specific needs so you don’t overexert your hip joints while you build up strength and flexibility over time.
We love these low-impact hip pain exercises because they are great for everyone regardless of age and exercise experience. When you start with low-impact movements like these, you can build up strength and flexibility over time without putting additional strain on your hip joints. And, these exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home!
As with any new exercise routine, please consult with your doctor before getting started and do not push your body past its limits. Remember, you will build up strength and flexibility over time.
This is a great warm-up for your hip pain exercise routine because it helps open up the hip flexors while engaging your thigh muscles. Don’t be intimidated by the photo – it’s OK to start with your knees higher off the ground because you will be able to move them close towards it as you build up flexibility. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit on the floor (use a pillow if needed) and press the soles of your feet together.
- Imagine a string pulling your head up to the sky, elongating your spine while keeping it straight and tuck in your chin.
- Breathe in and out deeply, and with each breath let yourself sink more into the stretch.
- Continue to breathe in and out for at least 30 seconds to start, up to a full minute with experience, then repeat 2-4 more times.
Next, move on to knee hugs which will combine deep breathing with subtle lower body movement to continue warming up your hips:
- Lie on the floor (use a mat or towel if needed), knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly bend in one knee towards your chest, grab hold and pull towards you. You can also place your legs straight out in front of you if you are a little more flexible.
- Breathe in and out from the stomach as you hold the stretch for 10-15
- You can repeat 2-3 times on the same side then switch to the other side, or alternate sides based on your preference.
Grab a chair and get ready to take things up just a notch! This simple seated exercise helps strengthen your hips while also engaging your thighs and abs. (Directions courtesy of Eldergym).
- Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Lift up your right knee as high as is comfortable while taking a deep breath in, then lower your leg back to the ground while exhaling.
- Alternate lifting your knees for a total of 10 lifts on each leg.
Standing Hip Extension
Now, stand up and get behind your chair for the final part of this hip pain exercise sequence:
- Grab the back of the chair with both hands and stand tall, being sure to straighten your spine and not arching your lower back.
- Lift your right leg back, directly behind you, as far as you can without causing discomfort and hold for 5-10 seconds.
- Return to your starting position and repeat 5-10 times on the same side before switching to the other side.
- If you are more advanced and want more of a challenge, you can add a resistance band around your ankles.
This simple, low-impact sequence is the perfect way to start a daily hip pain exercise routine. Over time, you should notice an increase in your hip strength and flexibility which can help decrease hip pain from normal, daily wear, and tear. If you are experiencing hip pain that is not improving from exercises, you should talk with your doctor about your treatment options. Our Board Certified Physicians are also here to help and can offer a free consultation to see if you are a candidate for our non-surgical, FDA-approved procedure to treat knee, hip, and shoulder pain. Just fill out the form below and an AROmotion team member will contact you.
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