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Exercise for Arthritis in the Hip

written by: weborglodge • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 8/28/2010

Exercises for arthritis in the hip can help you find relief from the pain and swelling of this often debilitating condition. They also have a role in your overall fitness, especially important when you have physical barriers to exercise.

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    Benefits of Exercise

    It may seem ironic that movement that causes pain can also help to alleviate it. Exercise will ease pain by reducing inflammation around your joints, explains the Arthritis Foundation. It will increase your flexibility so that you have a greater range of motion. In this way, your movements are more fluid, and you are less likely to stiffen up as you walk.

    There is no denying that arthritis can be extremely painful. However, it is important to keep exercising to maintain strength in your lower body. Not exercising is a vicious cycle that feeds upon itself. The less you exercise, the more painful moving around will become. To break that cycle of pain, you should embrace the healing power of exercises for arthritis in the hip.

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    Types of Exercise

    Your exercise plan includes the familiar components of exercise such as stretching and strength training. Yoga and Pilates offer ways to gently target your hips to help loosen tight muscles. The advantage of these types of exercises is that movements are non-jarring, making it easier for you to ease into exercising.

    To help you begin exercising, begin with a water exercise program. Exercising in water takes off some of the pressure from your hips, making exercise less painful. A 2010 study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity found that aquatic exercise helped older adults with arthritis reduce their fall risk.

    For aerobic exercise, focus on non-weight bearing activities such as swimming and biking. You will realize the benefits of exercise while displacing some of the pressure from your hips. Bear in mind that you should incorporate some weight-bearing activities such as walking into your day.

    As an older adult, you are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis, especially if you are a post-menopausal woman. Use water exercising and non-weight bearing activities to gain strength and flexibility, and then slowly introduce more weight-bearing exercises.

    Your exercise program then includes all three elements recommended by the American Council on Exercise: aerobic exercise, stretching, and strength training. Follow one of the recommendations of the National Osteoporosis Foundation to reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

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    Cautions for Exercising

    If you are 50 years or older, consult your doctor before you begin exercising. When you begin exercises for arthritis in the hip, start slowly--especially if you have been inactive for a length of time. As with any exercise, listen to your body if some moves are too painful. It's important that you ease slowly into activity so that you don't become discouraged early in your exercise program.

    Your condition does not have to be an obstacle to good health and fitness. Your doctor can provide additional advice to help you begin your active lifestyle. When you begin exercising, you are taking a step forward to managing arthritis in your life.

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    References

    American Council on Exercise: Three Things Every Exercise Program Should Have – www.acefitness.org

    Arthritis Foundation: Introduction to Exercise – www.arthritis.org

    C. Arnold and F. Faulkner. The effect of aquatic exercise and education on lowering fall risk in older adults with hip osteoarthritis. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, July 2010:18(3):245-60.

    National Osteoporosis Foundation: Prevention – www.nof.org