Exercises that Are Good for the Joints
There’s no question that regular exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle. When you are moving your body regularly, it helps to support healthy circulation, lymphatic movement, weight loss, and more. But it can be hard to exercise consistently if you are experiencing joint pain with these movements.
Whether you currently have joint pain, or you want to minimize the risk of joint pain in the future, it’s important to consider the types of exercises you are using. A good exercise strategy not only protects the joints but also helps you maintain fluid, strong movements throughout your life.
Avoiding Joint Injuries
Certain exercises and movements can put pressure on the joints, leading to arthritis and/or joint tissue damage. Wear and tear on the body is normal, especially if you are participating in activities that strain the joints. While these problems are more common with age, there are things that you can do to prevent joint pain.
It’s important to understand the structure of the joints so you know how to protect these sensitive parts of the body. A joint is a location where two bones come together. The bones are connected with muscles, cartilage, and ligaments, with a structure designed to promote stability. The cartilage acts as a buffer to distribute the compression that is occurring when you move. Usually, wear and tear on the cartilage is what causes joint pain to occur most often.
The key is to improve the muscles around the joints so you can keep the joints stable. Additionally, flexibility is an important aspect to avoid straining the joints and muscles.
Prevention and an Active Lifestyle
Joint pain is a “chicken and the egg” situation. If you aren’t moving, then the lack of motion can cause the joints to get stiff and painful. On the other hand, too much movement and improper form can place unnecessary pressure on the joints.
The goal to maintain healthy joints is to create an active lifestyle. This process is a lifetime goal – short bursts of exercises can put more pressure on the joints since your body isn’t used to the movement. Maintaining regular physical activity in the early and middle years of life sets the stage so you can continue with these activities in the older years.
One of the biggest benefits of maintaining healthy joints is to correct the issues in the earliest stages. As the pain progresses, it can lead to joint replacement surgeries and have an ongoing effect on your life.
5 Exercise Tips for Healthy Joints
There are many types of exercises you can choose to protect your joint health. Make sure to implement these tips when you are designing and implementing your exercise routine:
- Keep Moving: Establish a habit to move your body regularly. Consistency is more important than intensity. Get in the practice of adding 30 minutes of exercise to your routine at least a few times a week.
- Vary Your Routine: Repetitive movements are one cause of wear and tear on the joints. So, be proactive about participating in a variety of exercise activities. A good balance should include strength training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility.
- Lose Weight: Carrying around unnecessary weight puts added stress on the ankles, knees, and hips. Implement a healthy meal plan and regular exercise so you can drop the pounds and alleviate pressure on the joints.
- Reduce Joint Pressure: Consider the way your exercise activities are affecting the pressure and load on your joints. For example, if you find that weight lifting is taking a toll, then switch out to something that is a little gentler on the joints.
- Strengthen Your Core: Having a strong core provides a great foundation to protect the rest of your body. When your core is strong, then it has a positive effect on your posture, which reduces joint pressure.
- Use Heat and Ice: If you are experiencing pain, try applying heat before your workout to warm up the muscles and promote good circulation. Then, ice after the workout can reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Decrease the Intensity: When you are planning your workout routine, decrease your intensity or difficulty to avoid over-doing the activities. Pay attention to how you are feeling after exercising – if you are sore for longer than 2 hours after the activity, then you were probably too strenuous with the activities.
Best Types of Exercises for Joint Health
What types of exercises should you be using to strengthen your body, boost your heart rate, and protect your joints at the same time? You don’t need to follow a complicated exercise routine. Even simple movements can be a great way to get started.
Here are a few exercise ideas you might consider:
- Walking: Running and jogging can increase joint pain for many people. Instead, reduce the intensity and spend time walking. This movement helps to build leg muscles and keeps fluidity in the lower extremity joints as well. Try walking before and after a workout to prepare the muscles for the upcoming activities. Also, try walking outside or on an indoor track if you find that a treadmill is aggravating your joint pain.
- Swimming: Take pressure off the joints by spending your workout time in the water. Swimming and water aerobics are great ways to move your muscles without the pounding pressure from other forms of cardio. You can swim laps at a nearby gym or community pool. Or, check the schedule to find classes you can join.
- Bicycling: Sitting on a stationary bike is a way you can maintain movement without too much pressure on the knees and ankles. You can also try cycling outside. Adjust the intensity of the stationary bike or the gears on the road bike to reduce the intensity of your workout.
- Yoga: The gentle movements and deep stretches in a yoga routine offer a great way to strengthen your muscles and promote healthy joints at the same time.
Pain Management Recommendations
Do you experience joint pain on a daily basis? Then it might be time to talk to our team of pain management specialists. We help patients find relief from chronic pain issues. Contact us at Texas Partners Healthcare Group to schedule a consultation.