Ramsay Health UK | 21/10/2020

How to Exercise with a Bad Hip

As we grow older, like much of the rest of our body, our hips start to take on more strain and wear, which can leave us with a lot of pain and a lot of difficulty when we’re moving around. This can make things like keeping fit and exercising much tougher than it might have been earlier in our lives. If you’re struggling with your fitness routines thanks to hip pain and problems, we’ve got some ideas for how we can help. Here are some ideas for how you can exercise with a bad hip. The first two entries in this blog feature exercises that will help with your hip problems while the remaining three are focused on keeping you fit without making those problems worse.

Knee bend

We’ll start with one of the simpler exercises – the knee bend. This gentle exercise can help to reduce the pain in your hip, especially when done daily. To do a knee bend, you’ll need to be lying on your back. For this, we’d recommend a yoga or exercise mat to make sure you’re comfortable and supported.

With both legs straight, bring your right leg slowly towards you, sliding it gently across the mat so that it’s bent. Hold your knee in this bent position for 5 seconds before allowing it to return to its starting position. Complete the same movement with your left leg. Do three repetitions for each leg twice a day.

For an extra level of challenge, when your knee is bent, place your arms around it and hug it to your chest so that your foot is off the ground before letting it return to its starting position.

Standing leg raises

The leg raises are an accessible and straightforward exercise that are designed to alleviate the pain you might feel if you have trouble with your hip. For standing leg raises, you’ll need a prop, like a chair, to help you balance while you carry out the exercise.

Standing with the chair facing away from you and using the back of the chair as support, lift your right leg backwards as far as you can. Hold it in place for 5 seconds and return it to its starting position. Complete the same process with your left leg. Complete three repetitions of the exercise.

You can also do the same exercise but with extending your leg to the left and right. This will help exercise and stretch a different part of your hip.

Water exercises

Exercising in water is an excellent option for those who struggle with hip joint pain– this is because the water supports your weight, reducing the strain on the painful parts of your hips and making it easier to complete exercise goals.

The most immediate example is swimming. Most forms of swimming can help with the cardio-based, fitness side of your health, letting you enjoy cardiovascular exercises without being held back by restrictive hip pain.

Other water exercises can be as simple as walking or lifting your arms with small weights under water. The resistance of the water will work your muscles more, with an increased range of motion for your limbs – the cool water can also give relief to your joints.


Yoga is popular among people of all ages – and for good reason. The practice is easy-going, beneficial for your mental health and is straightforward to pick up. Better yet, the simple stretches can help with joint issues across the body, including your hips.

you take part in yoga, the stretches you do help to build up the tiny muscles between your joints, strengthening them and making them more resilient to pain. It also opens up the joints and maintains their flexibility, ideal for reinforcing your hip for the future.

The best kind of yoga for hips is called Hatha which features yoga exercises called ‘hip openers’ that, as you might imagine, help you to open up and work the hip joints. There are free hatha exercises available online, such as this guide for example.


If you’re used to running, cycling, climbing or other high-energy workouts, when you have problems with your hips, it’s always a good idea to tune this down and just focus on walking for your daily cardio routines.

It might feel restrictive and not much fun, but walking is the best way to keep your fitness up while ensuring your hips have the space they need to recover and heal. Running and other worked up exercises can add additional strain where it’s neither helpful nor needed, and this could even cause more damage. It’s best to take it slow and steady while your body rebuilds.

At Ramsay Health Care we offer a full range of diagnosis and surgery options for hip pain and other joint problems. You can find out more about our hip and other orthopaedic treatments, or if you’d like to talk to us about any knee or joint problems you’re having, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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