While it’s important to stay active, experiencing hip pain – particularly if it’s exercise-related – might make you rather stay home on the couch. After a doctor has checked out the pain and approved continuing to exercise, try a low-impact cardio workout that won’t strain your hip, such as rowing, water exercises or power yoga. However, listen to your body and rest your hip if it starts to hurt while exercising.
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A rowing machine not only gets your heart rate going, but builds muscles through the entire body. Take a seat on the machine, hook your feet into the straps, set the drag -- the device on the side that controls resistance -- between three and five and begin to row. Proper form requires keeping your wrists straight and fingers lightly wrapped around the handle. Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid hunching over. For a 20-minute workout, start with a three-minute warm-up averaging 16 to 18 strokes per minute. Speed it up to average between 20 and 28 strokes per minute for the next 14 minutes, and then ease up for a final two-minute cool-down.
If you have a swimsuit and access to a pool, swim laps for a low-impact workout. Swimming uses nearly all the muscles in the body, but the water’s buoyancy removes the harsh impact on your hip. To avoid boredom, break your workout into intervals. Start with an easy warm-up of four laps, and then increase your pace for the next eight laps, finishing with a cool-down of another four laps. Mix up the type of strokes you use, as each one – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly – uses different muscles.
If you’d rather exercise in a group setting, try a water aerobics class. These are typically held in the shallow end of a pool where your feet can touch the bottom, so it’s a good option for those who aren’t strong swimmers. Common water aerobics moves include the leg switch, where you hop up and down while alternating your left and right feet; jumping jacks; and calf lifts, where you hold onto the edge of the pool and raise yourself up and down using your calf muscles. These techniques can also be done outside of a class setting, either on their own or as a combination with swimming laps.
Yoga is often thought of as stretching, but Ashtanga yoga and its modern counterpart, power yoga, provide an aerobic workout, burning up to 350 calories an hour. Ashtanga is a fast-paced series of poses increasing in difficulty as you move through them. Maintaining proper breathing is important. Power yoga, developed in the mid-1990s, is the western version of Ashtanga, and it is also a fast-paced class that keeps students moving while focusing on strength and flexibility.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Shape: 20-Minute Total Body Rowing Workout
- Columbia Spectator: Protecting your joints, one low-impact swim at a time
- BeginnerTriathlete.com: Beginner Swim Workouts: Endurance, Form and Speed
- Symptom Find: Water Aerobic Exercises For A Low-Impact Workout
- Yoga Journal: Not All Yoga Is Created Equal
- Medline Plus: Hip Pain
- NYU Langone Medical Center: The Hip