How to Exercise With a Bad Hip

water aerobics equipment

A bad hip may be the result of arthritis in the hip joint, an injury or a congenital issue. Whatever the cause, you may have pain or weakness that makes it difficult to put weight on your hip for any length of time. You may also find that you have difficulty with balance and mobility. It is possible to exercise with a bad hip, but you need to make adjustments to the way you exercise. You also need to take certain precautions to avoid falling or injury. Consult your physician before starting an exercise program with a bad hip.

Walk on an elliptical trainer at least five days per week. Warm up at 2 mph for at least 10 minutes then slowly increase the speed to a comfortable rate. Walk at 2 mph for five minutes after your session to cool down.

Do seated aerobic exercise machines, such as an exercise cycle or a rowing machine, if walking produces too much hip pain. Warm up at a slow rate of speed for at least 10 minutes then slowly increase your speed. Cool down for five minutes after your workout.

Exercise in water. The buoyancy of water supports your body weight and allows you to do standing exercises such as walking and running. Or sign up for a water aerobics class, which can give you a cardiovascular workout and tone your muscles.

Do seated resistance exercises at least three days per week. Seated exercises help you isolate and work muscles without aggravating your hip. Use weights light enough that you can do 10 to 15 repetitions, but heavy enough that the last two repetitions of each set are the hardest. Warm up a minimum of 10 minutes beforehand, and stretch the muscles you have worked afterward.

Practice restorative yoga at least twice a week, which uses gentle stretches and resting poses and is designed for individuals recovering from injury or with range-of-motion issues.

Take an onsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, before your workout to prevent pain and swelling. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dosage and timing.


The Arthritis Foundation recommends some weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, for individuals with arthritis.


Stop exercising immediately if you experience severe pain, tingling or numbness in your hip, back or leg. Consult your physician if the pain in your hip worsens or if you lose range of motion.