3 exercises for people with arthritic hips

The knees and hips are the body's main weight-bearing joints, subject to enormous stress from daily activities. Here are three exercises to strengthen arthritic hips.

3 exercises for people with arthritic hips

1. Lying hip abduction

Like the leg part of making snow angels (only you're warm and dry), this exercise works the abductor muscles at the outside of the hip.

  • Lie on your back with your feet pointing toward the ceiling and your legs together.
  • Keeping your legs straight, move your feet comfortably apart and bring them back together again.
  • Do this gently and slowly, pausing at the full extension. A fast scissoring motion isn't as safe or as beneficial for your muscles.

2. Lying hip extension

This exercise works large muscles in the hips and buttocks as well as the hamstrings, which stabilize the hips and help walking and sitting.

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your toes pointed down. You can prop your upper body on your elbows, but may find it more relaxing to lie flat, supporting your head with your arms or hands.
  • Keeping your knee straight, lift your entire right leg so that your foot is 2.5 to 5 centimetres (one to two inches) off the floor. Lower your leg back to the floor.
  • Repeat with the other leg. This is one repetition.
  • Keep your body stable and relaxed so that all movement is concentrated at the hip joint.
  • As you become stronger, you can make this exercise more intense by doing extra repetitions or adding strap-on ankle weights.

3. Lower-body extension

This exercise provides a good workout for the hips.

  • Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, a rug or an exercise mat.
  • Extend your right leg out behind you, keeping your foot about 2.5 centimetres (one inch) off the floor as you straighten your knee. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg to complete one repetition. Continue alternating legs until you finish a set.
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