Maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves regular exercise. Being active and avoiding a predominantly sedentary routine has plenty of benefits. However, some people have limited physical ability to perform intense workouts or participate in sports or other activities that push the body.
For instance, individuals who are overweight or obese risk putting additional stress on their lower joints, which can lead to musculoskeletal conditions. Those experiencing chronic hip pain, joint conditions, or recovery from musculoskeletal injuries could experience physical discomfort from strenuous activities.
However, that’s not to say that exercise is impossible. Those who can’t perform strenuous exercises can maintain an active lifestyle through these low-impact exercises.
Low-Impact Exercises for Weight Loss and Hip Pain
These are some exercises you can explore that don’t exert your body while helping you lose weight or manage hip pain.
Swimming is one of the most recommended low-impact exercises for weight loss and joint pain management. Buoyancy reduces the stress on your body by supporting your weight, while the water provides resistance to strengthen your muscles without adding pressure to your hip joints. A basic swimming workout can improve your cardio, strength, and flexibility when done correctly.
Swim a few laps at your own pace, and ensure your form is correct to prevent unnecessary stress to your arms, legs, or abdomen. You can also use the pool to perform water aerobics, as the buoyancy reduces the impact on your hips and lower body.
A simple walk around your neighborhood can be a good, low-impact workout. Walking at your own pace for 30 minutes to an hour can help burn calories and maintain an active lifestyle. Additionally, walking can reduce hip stiffness as it loosens the hip flexors and promotes blood flow to prevent inflammation.
Walk at your own pace and then build endurance before you try brisk walking or walking for longer periods. After consistently walking several times per week, you may find your chronic hip pain to occur less frequently.
Whether you join a low-impact cycling class, have a stationary bike at home, or opt for a traditional bicycle, cycling offers a low-impact workout that can progress into more intense sessions at your comfortable pace. Unlike running, cycling doesn’t impact the knees or cause additional stress through the impact on the ground. For those with hip pain, you’ll be pleased to know that continuous movement can help overall hip function and conditions such as hip arthritis.
For those who can’t balance on a bike, a stationary bike is the best choice as it doesn’t require a learning curve. If you opt for a traditional bike, invest in quality safety gear to prevent injuries. Before any workout, ensure your seat height and position are optimized for your body and form, as improper positioning can cause joint pain.
Practicing basic yoga several times per week can be an effective, low-impact exercise. Many basic poses place minimal stress on your joints, and the practice doesn’t have fast or exhausting motions. Practicing yoga also has mental benefits, which can help with weight loss through better self-control and mindfulness. Physical exercises can also reduce stress, which can reduce stress-related hormones like cortisol, which are associated with weight gain.
You can attend yoga classes that offer basic lessons or opt to do it at home with a personal yoga instructor or videos online. Focusing on yoga poses targeting the hip muscles allows you to stretch these areas slowly and improve your flexibility and strength.
5. Low-Impact Body Resistance Exercises
If you prefer to exercise indoors with minimal equipment, your best option is to perform body exercises. Here are some low-impact exercises you can add to your workout routine:
- Crunches: These target your core abdominal muscles while burning calories and improving your posture. Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor. Exhale as you lift your upper body while keeping your head and neck relaxed. Slowly inhale as you return to the starting position.
- Wall Squats: This is similar to regular squats that target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. However, instead of putting pressure on your knees, you can use the wall to propel yourself and keep proper form without putting too much weight on your knees.
- Hammer Curls: Unlike regular bicep curls, hammer curls reduce stress on your biceps and forearms. This means your heart won’t pump as hard while still allowing you to burn fat.
How Much Low-Impact Exercise Should You Do Weekly?
Your healthcare provider can advise what’s best for your condition. However, the American Heart Association generally recommends at least 150 minutes of light to moderate exercise weekly. You can break this down to 30 minutes of exercise daily for five days or however, you see fit.
This might be an overwhelming duration, especially if you have previously lived a sedentary lifestyle or have a condition that makes mobility limited. However, beginners can work their way towards regular exercise. For example, if you’re taking walking as an exercise option, you could walk for 15 minutes twice daily. Alternatively, you can start exercising by walking 10 minutes on the first day and then add 10 minutes every day until you can walk 30 minutes daily.
It can be easy to feel burned out or bored, but the trick is to be consistent. Rather than opting to skip exercise, you can reduce your exercise time. Over time, constant effort can positively impact your body.
Let Benjamin Domb M.D. Guide You Through Joint Recovery
Regular exercise is a must for a healthy lifestyle. However, low-impact exercises are highly recommended if moderate to extreme activity isn’t physically possible. These can create sustainable exercise routines for weight loss, pain management, and joint mobility.
Dr. Benjamin Domb has helped many individuals recover from musculoskeletal conditions. If your chronic hip joint conditions limit your mobility and affect your quality of life, you may benefit from a personalized treatment plan to manage and recover. Call us today to request an appointment.