What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused when cartilage breaks down. This allows the bones to rub together, which can result in bone spurs, stiffness, and pain.
If you have osteoarthritis of the hip, pain may prevent you from exercising. A lack of exercise may even contribute to osteoarthritis and muscle atrophy. Regular physical activity can help strengthen muscles, improve balance, and make your hip joints more stable. In addition to regular exercise, you can increase your movements while performing regular daily activities. Adding a moderate amount of activity each day can improve your overall health and well-being.
Factors such as your overall health and your age will help determine which exercises are best for you. Before beginning a new exercise routine, be sure to discuss it with your doctor, or ask them to recommend a physical therapist.
When beginning an exercise program, it’s best to start slowly. Some examples of low-impact, non-strenuous exercise include:
If you have balance problems, using a treadmill (with no incline) allows you to hold on. Walking at a comfortable pace — whether it’s indoors or outdoors — is an excellent low-impact exercise
Using a stationary bike on an easy setting allows you to slowly build your strength. Using the bike in your home allows you to avoid traffic and stop when you feel strained.
Freestyle swimming provides a moderate workout. Walking in water up to your waist lightens the load on your joints while also providing enough resistance for your muscles to become stronger. This can greatly improve pain and daily function of the hips.
Regular yoga can help improve flexibility of the joints, strengthen muscles, and lessen pain. Some yoga positions can add strain to your hips, so if you feel discomfort, ask your instructor for modifications. A class for beginners is a good place to start.
The slow, fluid movements of tai chi may relieve arthritis pain and improve balance. Tai chi is a natural and healthy stress reducer as well.
Muscle strengthening exercises
Strong muscles can take pressure off your hip joints and help improve balance. You should not engage in strength training without consulting with one of our VanCity Physiotherapists.
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