5 Great Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips

About 15% of people over age 65 experience hip pain. Joint deterioration, arthritis, and injury can all cause pain and stiffness that restrict your mobility and impact your quality of life. The good news is that nonsurgical treatments like exercising can significantly improve pain by strengthening your hips.

Targeted exercises build strength in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that help your hip move. When surrounding tissues are strong, there’s less strain on the bones of your hip, so you’ll enjoy better mobility.

The benefits of strengthening exercises don’t stop at your hips, either. Hips play an important role in knee alignment, so strengthening your hips can also improve knee and leg pain.

Whether you’re bothered by joint pain or you want to preserve your mobility, get a customized exercise routine from orthopedic specialist Chris Boone, MD. Dr. Boone and our team treat people who are living with hip pain, osteoarthritis, and more.

We’re here to help you build strength and improve your quality of life at every age. Find five of our favorite hip-strengthening exercises here, and schedule an appointment to find out what exercises are right for you.

1. Knee lifts

Knee lifts stretch your hip flexors, thigh muscles, and gluteal muscles. To do knee lifts, lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched. Bring your right knee to your chest, and keep your left knee pressed against the floor, holding the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

You’ll feel a stretch in your hip with each knee lift. Do two to three sets on each side.

2. Leg raises

Leg raises build strength in your hip muscles. Lie down on your right side, propping your upper body up with your elbow. While resting your right leg on the ground, lift the top leg as high as you can without bending your body or your leg. Hold the position for five seconds, then lower your leg. 

Repeat this exercise five times, then lie down on your left side, and do five leg raises with the other leg.

3. Butterfly pose

The butterfly pose is a seated exercise that stretches your hips and encourages blood circulation. Sit on the floor, using a towel or cushion to support your pelvis, if necessary. Bend your knees, and place the soles of your feet together. Using your elbows, press your knees down toward the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Notice the stretch as your hips open and tension is released. For a deeper stretch, bring your feet closer to your body.

4. Seated marching

The seated march exercise helps increase strength in both the hip and thigh muscles. To perform this exercise, sit at the edge of a chair. Keeping your knee bent, lift your right leg as high as possible, then lower it slowly. Repeat on the other side.

Lift both feet 5-12 times, depending on your comfort level. Repeat for a total of two to three sets, increasing repetitions as you grow stronger. 

5. Hip circles

Hip circles are a standing exercise that improves stability and flexibility in the hips. To begin, stand on your left leg with your right leg extended. If you feel unstable, hold onto a wall or chair for support. Move your right leg in small circles. Aim to do 20 circles both clockwise and counterclockwise. Then do circles with your left leg.

Hip circles help strengthen and stabilize muscles around the joint. Consider making larger circles or adding additional sets as your hips get stronger. 

Remember to talk with your health care team before beginning a new exercise routine. Dr. Boone performs thorough physical assessments, taking your health and any preexisting conditions into account, before he recommends an exercise plan that’s right for you.

You shouldn’t have to live with hip and leg pain. Finding a hip strengthening routine to incorporate into your daily routine can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining and improving your mobility. Contact Dr. Boone online, or call us to schedule your first appointment today.

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