How Do You Exercise When You Have Hip Pain?

When you have hip pain almost everything you do is going to be harder but some things are going to be harder than most. Exercise is one of those things that I am fortunate I am still able to do but is one of the most difficult things I have to do. Most of my routines require you to move your legs in some way which is not really a problem for my left leg but on my right leg, it causes a lot of pain. You can’t just do moves on one side because then you will be uneven on that side and it will be much stronger than the other which nobody wants. I don’t have to be doing anything super fancy or crazy advanced to cause pain and literally all it takes is to lift my leg off the floor in the smallest way, How can I still do workouts while keeping my pain bearable? In this post, I am going to talk about things I have done to manage hip pain during exercise so my pain doesn’t get too out of control and stays bearable until surgery.

Modify– Modifications during exercise are going to be your best friend when you live with hip pain or any type of chronic pain. I have been doing pilates for about ten years and can do pretty advanced core workouts that most people can’t but when you have hip pain it’s not as easy. A lot of my ab workout requires you to move your legs a lot and sometimes I just can’t handle the pain and have to do modifications of some moves. Pretty much all movements have easier versions of them which usually isn’t a challenge for me since I have been doing pilates for so long so what I do to challenge myself if I am doing a modification is try to squeeze my abdominals more and put more emphasis in my abs or else it wouldn’t be a challenge for me. You can also always bend your knees when doing things like a double leg lift if you feel like it’s stressing your hips or have your head lying on the ground if you are a total beginner.

Do more strength training-  Strength training has always been my least favorite way to train but when you have hip pain it quickly becomes your favorite way because it causes the least amout of pain.. Ab workouts can be painful because you move your legs a lot but strength training is not and can be done at much higher intensities because you can literally lift weights or resistance train while sitting or laying down without moving your legs which is something I am loving right now and need to control the pain.

 Stop doing it!- Workouts should push you a little past your comfort zone and make you a little uncomfortable but there is a difference between exercise pain and chronic pain where you should probably stop. Know the difference and if after your workout you want to cry or actually do then that is a sign your body is trying to tell you something! You are either doing an exercise wrong or your chronic pain is at a level it shouldn’t be but whatever the reason is you should probably stop. Exercise should be challenging but shouldn’t make you cry and if it is your probably doing more harm than good so your not really helping yourself by pushing through.

Don’t try and add extra resistance- You may see me add some weight to my ab routines but it’s usually only when I am doing things like a weighted situp that puts zero pressure on my hips. I am not tying resistance bands around my legs( nor do I ever) trying to make my workouts more challenging or using my pilates ring to get an extra burn because truthfully you don’t need to do that.. If you have hip pain you don’t want to be adding extra resistance to your legs and if I were you I would just stick to bodyweight movements for less pain because as soon as you start adding resistance to your workouts it’s going to stress your hip so you have more pain. Keep things simple and save all this extra resistance training or after you get relief from your hip pain!

Stick to low-intensity routines-If you are struggling with hip pain one of the biggest mistakes you can make during exercise is working out at too high of an intensity. High-intensity workouts are good but if you are living with pain it might be the best idea and could stress your body making it worse. Try and stick to low-intensity routines like pilates or yoga because they are gentler on your joints and can be just as hard as any workout. A lot of the time people won’t try them because they think they are easy but if it’s easy you are probably either not doing enough of it or doing exercises incorrectly because low-intensity routines can be just as challenging as anything else. Low intensity doesn’t easy and all it means is it’s easier on your joints than higher intensity routines!

Have more rest days- Before I had hip pain I was able to exercise five to six days a week but now on a good week, I am lucky if I can do three and that is okay! Have more rest days and stop trying to do live your old life because you won’t be able to and still have less pain. Find a schedule that works for you and take more rest days if you have to because it’s not laziness to workout less but self-care!

I could use my pain as an excuse to feel sorry for myself and stop exercising but as long as I am able I don’t think that would be the best choice for me. Working out has helped me build strength so my life is a little bit easier now and while I am recovering and if I stopped everything before I needed to my life would be harder because I would be weaker and struggling just to support my own body weight. I can always use modifications or swap something out if I need becuase I am only hurting myself to quit before I have to but if it become too much I would stop. Some days pain can be significant and I don’t work out but not every is like that so I am still able to do it which I don’t think I will have to stop since surgery is next week. Working out is not the same when you have hip pain or any type of chronic pain at all because you can’t just suck it up without making it worse like a lot of people think you can. Listen to your body, modify as needed or don’t exercise at all because not exercising is not laziness but selfcare! I will be eager to get back to exercise without pain but until then I am accepting what I have and doing what I can because as long as I am doing my best then that is enough. Do you have hip pain and do you exercise? What are some ways you may exercise easier while living with pain?


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