More than 400,000 joint replacement surgeries are conducted every year in the United States. And the big news is that the average age for such procedures is dropping.
If you are experiencing moderate hip pain, it could be a red flag that you aren’t getting enough exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is the sworn enemy of healthy joints, and can weaken the cartilage surrounding your hip bone. This connective tissue prevents friction as the bone moves in its socket. Prone to wear and tear as we age, when it ultimately breaks down, osteoarthritis occurs, and the likelihood of a hospital visit increases dramatically.
It bears mentioning that maintaining a healthy weight is critical in the fight against osteoarthritis and hip injury, in general. While it may seem insignificant at first blush, carrying around an extra 10 pounds of weight actually yields approximately 60 pounds of pressure on each step you take.
Low-impact aerobic and strength workouts are not only a good way to burn calories and keep our waistlines in check, but they are also ideal for increasing blood flow and flexibility in our hip and knee joints as we age.
Your personal trainer should be able to recommend some simple cardio workouts to strengthen the resilience of your joints. Some examples include:
- Stair exercises
- Stationary bike
- Elliptical machine
Strength or resistance exercises are also recommended to reinforce muscles such as the quadriceps (shock absorbers at front of thigh) and hamstrings (at the back), as well as the gluteal muscles that help control your hip joints. Your personal trainer may recommend a combination of the following:
- Leg lifts
- Hip extensions
- Dumbbell squats
- Weight machine workouts
A qualified personal trainer should also make sure to exercise your core. These all-important muscles around the hips and back help to stabilize your gait while walking, which in turn reduces strain on your hips. Try planks, calf raises, core crunches, and similar exercises.
While moderate exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy body and responsive joints, there are precautions you should take when experiencing knee and/or hip pain:
- Avoid walking on uneven ground; hiking.
- Do not lift heavy weights.
- Do not attempt exercises involving running and/or jumping.
Individuals with osteoarthritis should not give up on a physical fitness plan. On the contrary – exercise is essential for healthy bones, joints, and ligaments as we age. A discussion with your physician is a good place to start, followed by a consultation with a personal trainer who can help you avoid injury and feel better with each consecutive workout.
Call Fitness Together Ellicott City at 410-750-2228 to find out how we can help.