The great outdoors

“So many of us are drawn to water and the outdoors for our activities.”

Metaphorically winding paths, mountains and the ocean blue represent where we have come from, where we want to get to, the challenges we have faced and what we have overcome.

Being active outdoors, being out in nature in green (and blue!) spaces is really important to many of us and offers a great deal for our mental and physical health.

Watch Bea's and Wendy's stories below to find out how being active in the great outdoors holds deep meaning and importance for them.

Wendy with bike


Swimming is an activity loved by many of us hippies. It's no-impact and can help build cardiovascular fitness and strength. And you can swim at your local pool, lido or out in nature.

How to get back into swimming

If you haven’t been swimming for a long time or have never really been a swimmer and are a bit hesitant to start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Go with a friend or family member
  • Try a number of local pools as you may prefer one over another. One might be warmer or you may find one you didn’t know existed!
  • If you can, find a time of day when the pool is less busy.
  • Every pool provides easier access into the water - such as gradient steps or hoists if you ask at reception
  • Find a lane or an area of the pool where you feel comfortable.
  • Don’t feel you have to swim a lot or even swim at all. Just moving in the water can help to gently stretch and strengthen your muscles.
  • Bring flip flops / crocs / whatever you can walk in for walking on the wet poolside.
swimming goggle
“It's your journey at your pace, forward is forward - it’s not a race!”

– Jen
Winning medal
Claire celebrates after her Great North Swim
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Top tip

If you find if swimming is increasing your pain, avoid breaststroke and reduce your time and distance. Also try placing a pull buoy between your legs to prevent kicking.


Next up, we explore cycling, which is another brilliant form of exercise for many hippies.

Below, Claire, Wendy, Katherine and Annick share their tips for if you’d like to get into cycling, get back to cycling or are trying to keep cycling.

Wendy cycling

We love cycling!

Cycling is really good because:

  • It’s low impact
  • A good way to get some cardiovascular work in
  • Encourages hip mobility
  • Glute strengthening
  • Makes you happy
  • Target events can help with motivation
  • The hip issue is less obvious to others on the bike
  • It’s super sociable if you ride with a friend, join Breeze or a local club

Getting started

Buy or borrow a cheap bike and see how you get on.  A mountain bike will be heavier than a road bike.

Breeze are a National organisation helping women back into cycling, and was a great way in for some of us to get into cycling. They're super friendly and encouraging and will ALWAYS wait for the slowest person. And not only that, they help you to build confidence and to help look after your bike.

Cycling up a hill

Getting serious – for those who are a bit more into their riding

Having any kind of hip related issue means weakness with glutes and possibly issues going right the way down to your feet, hence we have a dedicated feet section.

TipS for your Feet (and legs!)

Hip issues might mean that the arches in your feet have dropped but all is not lost - using the right shoes with some insoles for support can improve your position and power. Yay!

Clipping in and out can be challenging; Claire re-trained to unclip on the other side.  

Changing the tension on cleats might make unclipping easier. And spacers or shims under cleats can help with leg length discrepancies, although cleat positioning is more important.

And while hills are okay (well, as okay as they ever are!), we wanted to let you know that some of us struggle with getting out of the saddle.  

Your Core

Don’t underestimate how much having a strong core will help your riding.  If your core is a little weaker then tilting your bars upwards might be more comfortable for you.

Bike fit

If the bank account allows it then do consider a bike fit, it is undoubtedly one of the best ways to be the most comfortable on a bike, particularly with specific hip issues.

Balance me up

If you ride a Wattbike or use power meters then you might find that there is an imbalance in power you produce from one side to the other, this may vary depending on how tired your muscles are.  Technique might help with this.  Another side effect of being slightly imbalanced might be more saddle related issues – perhaps on the weaker side.  The only answers are keep on going with the strength & resistance work.

Open up your hip flexors

Some of us find that opening up the hip flexors with some mobility (have you spotted the theme yet?) can help to ‘wake up’ the less comfortable side and to help switch on some of the muscles.

Cycling before surgery

Some of us found we wanted to build up muscle before surgeries, and cycling, on a static bike was a useful way to do this, particularly if mobility for walking had been affected or running was no longer a possibility.

Cycling after surgery

Many of us found that cycling on a static bike or turbo was one of the earliest forms of exercise that we could do after surgery. The beauty is that it is non-weight bearing.  

Getting on a static bike of some kind took until about six weeks post PAO surgery for most of us.  It definitely helped to raise the saddle height and use a step in order to get onto the bike.  One of us used a pool to replicate the cycling action.

Wendy in gym

In terms of time scales for outdoor riding, Wendy had a PAO in mid-September and managed to ride around her estate on Christmas day!  

Claire found it was five months until she was ready to be outside again, but had built up steadily using indoor training.

Annick had a second PAO and managed an outdoor ride just over two months later.  So it does really depend on you, your surgeries and your own body.  

A minor procedure such as an arthroscopy might mean you can be back on the bike within a few days.

See you there

Finally, good luck! Will we see you on Strava? ;-)


For many people with hip dysplasia, running can become troublesome – and for those who really love it, hip dysplasia really gets in the way. No more is this true than for Alexa and Annick.

However, running isn't out of the question. A diagnosis of hip dysplasia doesn’t mean you need to hang up your running shoes altogether. Annick and Alexa share their stories below.

And you can listen to physiotherapist Holly Doyle's top tips for running with hip dysplasia following surgery in our pre and post surgery section.

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Annick's top tips for running with hip dysplasia

Good quality trainers

Get a gait assessment before you starting running - a good quality running shop will advise what the best shoe is for your gait.


Consider where you run. Off road/trail is more forgiving under foot but has more risk of tripping or falling. Road running is less forgiving under foot but tends to be less hazardous. Also consider undulating as opposed to flat terrain, particularly for long distance runs. Undulating breaks up the quad muscle positions which can become “stuck” in the same position when running on flat.

Starting out

Join a group or club that runs a Couch to 5k programme. This will help graduate you back into running and will also give you encouragement because you'll be running with others who have been injured or never run before.


Have goals in mind to aim for that are realistically achievable, but don’t be afraid to test the boundaries. Reach for the moon!


Don’t give up on those rehab exercises! Make them a way of life otherwise those glute muscles are likely to shut down and that’s when injuries happen.