If you have hip osteoarthritis, pain may prevent you from exercising. However, certain exercises can help strengthen muscles, improve balance, and make your hip joints more stable.

In addition to regular exercise, you can increase your activity level by making small changes in your day to day life. Adding a moderate amount of activity each day can improve your overall health and well-being.

You can also add in specific exercises, like strengthening and stretching, that can make your hips feel better. Balance exercises can also help you feel more stable, reducing your risk of falls.

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.

When beginning an exercise program, it’s best to start slowly. Aim to work up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Here are some low-impact forms of activity to try.


Adding in daily walks is an accessible way to add more movement to your day. If you have trouble with your balance, try using a treadmill with bars to hold on to.

Stationary bike

Using a stationary bike on an easy setting allows you to slowly build your strength. You can cycle outside if you feel comfortable doing so, but using a stationary bike means you avoid traffic and can stop whenever you need to.

Water exercises

Freestyle swimming provides a moderate intensity workout. Walking in water up to your waist also lightens the load on your joints while providing some resistance. This can greatly improve pain and daily function of the hips.


Practicing yoga can help improve your flexibility, strengthen muscles, and reduce 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.

Tai chi

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.

Strong muscles can take pressure off your hip joints and help improve balance. If you’re new to strength straining, start slow, and focus on using good form. It can also be helpful to speak with your doctor, a person trainer, or physical therapist if you’re a beginner.

Chair stand

Place a chair against the wall and sit towards the front of the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Sit with arms crossed and hands on your shoulders.

With your head, neck, and back straight, bring your upper body forward and slowly rise to a standing position. Slowly return to your original seated position.

Repeat this up to six times, slowly building your strength up to 12 repetitions.


Lie down on your back on the floor. With your knees bent and your feet on the floor, place your palms down near your hips. With a straight back, lift your buttocks up as high as possible, using your hands for balance. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 8–12 times.

Hip extension

Using the back of a chair for balance, bend forward slightly. Lift your right leg straight behind you as your tighten your buttocks. Lift the leg as high as possible without bending your knee or arching your back.

After holding the position briefly, lower the leg slowly. Repeat with your left leg and try to complete this 8–12 times on each side.

Gentle flexibility exercises can reduce your stiffness and improve your mobility. Here are a few easy stretches to try.

Inner leg stretch

Sit with knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. Holding your shins or ankles, bend your upper body forward slightly. Gently press your knees down with your elbows and hold for 20–30 seconds.

Hip and lower back stretch

Lie down on your back with legs outstretched. With your neck on the floor, tuck your chin into your chest. Bend your knees into your chest and grab behind the knees, pulling toward the chest. Take a deep breath and release, and repeat 8–12 times.

Double hip rotation

Lie down on your back, with knees bent and feet flat toward the floor. With your shoulders on the floor and arms outstretched, slowly lower your knees to one side while turning your head to the other. Bring knees back and repeat on the opposite side.

Performing balance exercises three days a week can decrease your chances of falls and help you to feel more secure. Examples of exercises that help with balance include:

  • tai chi
  • standing on one foot
  • slowly walking backwards
  • simple yoga poses

While hip osteoarthritis can make exercise painful or uncomfortable, staying active is an important part of keeping your body healthy. It can also help you reduce pain and manage your symptoms.

Try to add in simple low-impact cardio, stretching, and strength exercises. Balance exercises can also help you feel more stable and lower your chance of falls.