It can sometimes sound counterproductive, but resting your joints isn’t always the best for their health. Your joints need movement and exercise to improve the overall health. In fact, joint pain can be cured through simple exercises to strengthen and build on the muscles, tendons, and other tissues around the area.
Of course, you should always talk to your doctor first. There are some joint conditions that can become worse with exercise. You will also want to find out how much exercise is good for you specifically. While the experts suggest 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, this isn’t right for everyone.
If you don’t currently have any health conditions, you’ll want to take preventive steps to avoid joint pain and issues. Here are 11 exercises that you’ll want to perform regularly to keep all your joints in good working order.
Don’t Forget to Wear Braces
If you already suffer from some joint pain, think about ways that you can ease that. During the exercises, you’ll want to wear braces. This is especially important if you’re doing anything that involves impact or twisting of the joints. Knee, ankle, wrist, and elbow braces are among the most common in sports stores up and down the country.
Don’t be afraid to invest in a couple of joint braces. They help to support the joints to avoid injury. If you’ve suffered trauma to an area previously, you’ll need to consider a brace. Your joints will be weaker, and you put yourself at risk of a reoccurring injury.
If you are in a lot of pain while doing exercises, stop doing them. Consult a doctor to make sure the pain is normal. You can also discuss alternate exercises to gain the same benefits without the pain.
Here are the 11 exercises that you want to do to improve your joint health.
Start with Some Flexibility Exercises
Yoga, Pilates, and Piyo all have one thing in common: they improve flexibility. They are low-impact exercises that have easy and hard versions of each activity that you do. As you gain more confidence and strength, you can work your way up to the harder exercises.
With the little impact, you’re not likely to injure the joints. You take the strain off them to avoid pain, especially if you currently have a health condition.
Yoga is one of the most popular because it helps to strengthen the muscles and tendons around the joints. You’ll also gain the flexibility, which means the tissues around joints are more likely to stretch instead of a tear, reducing chances of pain and other health problems.
Flexible joints will also help to remove stiffness. You’ll find it easier to balance and maintain your current health.
Before you do any type of exercise, make sure you warm up. This gets your tissues ready to stretch instead of tear.
Take Up Some Brisk Walking
Running is horrendous on the joints. While it’s considered one of the best for weight loss and overall health, it is not that great for the joint health. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out with a friend and take in the fresh air.
Instead of running, why not take up walking? A Brisk walk on a morning is an excellent way to start your day off right. You get the heart pumping and the blood circulating. You’ll also boost the metabolism, which will set you up in the right way for the rest of the day.
Researchers have actually found that walking is good for those with rheumatoid arthritis. It helps to circulate the blood to avoid swelling and pain. You’ll also release the right hormones, also help to reduce pain that you feel.
Start off by just going for a 10-15 minute walk on a morning and then work your way up to 30-60 minutes. You could end your day with a 30-minute walk, as walking is a good way to destress and get ready for your nightly routine.
Ease the Impact with Swimming
Swimming is one of the best types of exercises. Not only does it work every single muscle in the body, but it also helps to take the weight off your joints while you’re doing it. The water will take your whole weight, making it excellent for people of all weights and health issues.
There are different types of exercises that you can do while swimming to help improve your joints. Some people will jump right into a front crawl, while others like to lay on their backs and stretch off their muscles.
If you do a lot of high-impact exercises during the week, consider switching to swimming. You’ll take off the damage you’re doing to your joints, but still, gain in intensity. We tend to push ourselves more in the pool because we don’t feel the exercise as much. The water stops up from feeling the sweat building, as our breathing already changes from putting our heads into the water!
Those who don’t like the idea of swimming lengths can look at joining aquaerobics classes. These are highly popular, especially with women. There are different types of classes, with some involving float “weights” to help build arm muscles while improving fitness.
Do the One Leg Balance
Let’s not get into some bigger workouts and strengthening exercises right now. Strength training is important, but you want to make sure your joints can handle it. This is the benefit of one leg balance exercises.
If you’re not ready to move onto this, you can start by sitting in a chair and practicing the chair stand. You literally stand up and sit down, slowly to help build up the muscles in your legs. This is excellent for those very new to exercises, who are worried about any pain they may feel.
With the one leg balance, you will need to stand behind a chair or near a table. You want a surface that you can grab for balance when necessary.
Start by lifting one leg and standing on the other for 30-60 seconds. Just hold onto the chair or table lightly. You don’t want to take the weight off your leg, but you want to avoid the wobbling that can cause some damage to your joints. Switch over legs when you’re ready.
The benefit of this exercise is that you’ll build on your muscle strength. This is good for a later exercise and for walking and yoga! Even if you’re into other exercises, it’s worth doing this at the start of your day every day.
Try Out the Superman Pose
This is an extremely low impact exercise and doesn’t involve any pressure on your joints. You lay on your front with your arms and legs stretched out. The exercise works on your core, which will help to improve your balance and posture in your everyday life. It can help to reduce the pain you normally feel in your joints.
Lift your arms and legs off the ground at the same time. Your stomach should be the only place where you have any weight placed on the ground. Hold the position for 5 seconds if you can and then release. If you can’t hold right now, don’t worry! You’ll get to that point.
Make sure the movements are slow and controlled. Keep the head in line with your hands, keeping the spine straight and even throughout the exercise.
When you get back into the lower position, move straight back into the Superman post.
You can do a slight adaptation to this exercise if you want something different. On all fours, lift one leg and the opposite arm straight out, keeping your spine straight. Return to the all four position and repeat on the opposite side. This is another excellent way to build up your core strength.
Consider the Bridge Pose
Now it’s time to lie on your back. If you’re pregnant, you will want to avoid this exercise. There are alternatives that you can try, which your doctor will advice you on to keep you and your baby safe.
The bridge pose will continue to build your core strength. It also works your thigh muscles. Strong muscles will help to keep the weight off your joints, making sure they don’t suffer from various ailments like arthritis.
Lay on your back with your feet firmly on the floor. You can put your hands on the side of your butt for support, but you can also leave them resting on your stomach. Push the body up, so you create a bridge between your feet and your shoulders. No other body part in between should be on the floor.
Hold this position for as long as you can and then slowly release. Repeat again, making sure your movements are slow and controlled. Repeat this 5-10 times to help build the muscles as much as possible.
You can move onto using an exercise ball when this gets easy. Place your feet on the exercise ball and create a bridge between that and your shoulders. This will work your core harder because you need to keep the ball stable.
Another option is to lift one leg in the air and only work on one leg at a time. Keep the sides even!
Don’t Forget Your Squats and Lunges
Remember that strong muscles will help to keep the weight off the joints. This is especially the case with the thigh muscles. To hold all your weight here, you want to focus on some leg exercises that you can do at home.
Squats and lunges are among the best types of exercises for the legs. Start with squats if you’re not too sure or you struggle with your balance.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend the knees. Your knees shouldn’t go over your toes, and it’s like you’re sitting on a chair. Keep the back straight and don’t stick your butt out. Lift your arms up to shoulder height if you’re not sure what to do with them.
Hold the squat position if you’d like. Or you can just make slow movements up and down to build the muscles.
With the lunges, take a step backward, bending the front leg. Your back leg can bend slightly but shouldn’t touch the floor. Don’t let the front knee go over the toes. Bring the leg back and then repeat on the opposite side. Alternatively, you can step forward.
Follow Up with Arm Weights
It’s not just your legs that need to build. Your arm muscles will help to protect your wrist, shoulder, and elbow joints. So you want to build these muscles up with weights.
Start with low weights and build your way up. There’s nothing wrong with choose 2lb weights, even if your friends are on 5-8lbs. Lower weights will build up your strength and get you used to hold onto the weights.
There is a range of exercises that you can do to work on your arms muscles. Try out bicep curls, chest presses, rotator exercises, and T-exercises to build on the muscles. Don’t forget to check out this post for all the arm exercises that you need to do.
Try Out a Spin Class
While strength is good, there are still times that you want cardio. There’s no denying that Cardio gets the blood pumping, but you need to avoid running. Well, how about cycling?
If you don’t want to risk cycling outside, you could opt for a spin class instead. This is all indoors and works with a resistance bike for a better workout. With a good spin instructor, you’ll get a range of exercises to keep you entertained throughout the class.
Give one spin class a try, and you’ll be surprised.
If you have foot or leg problems, this is still a workout for you. While some instructors will ask you to lift yourself up from the seat, you don’t have to. It means you can take the weight off your legs completely.
Consider Tai Chi
Tai Chi offers many of the same benefits as yoga. It works by using slow movements that are controlled and boost flexibility. You’ll improve your strength while working on your core effectively.
This is an exercise that has been around for centuries. It is one of those martial arts that is focused on connecting with yourself rather than defending yourself from attacks. Arthritis studies have shown that is excellent for those currently with joint problems, so will be excellent for improving joint health and maintaining it.
Make sure you find a class with a qualified instructor. It will help to avoid injury by not getting the instructions right.
Work Your Way Up to Zumba
Zumba is the most energetic exercises on the list and does involve the most impact. However, the impact is much lighter than running. You may want to work your way up to this exercise.
You will likely have heard of Zumba. It was a huge craze a few years ago, as it incorporated fitness and Latin dance to create fun and energetic classes. If you’ve not seen Chicago Fire skip to a few episodes in Season 3 where Cruz is teaching Zumba.
The dance moves are all about fluidity. That means there’s no twisting or jolting of your joints, causing impact or pain. It will get your blood pumping, heart racing, and muscles building all at the same time. There are Zumba weights that you can use if you want
to build your muscles further.
Try one or two classes a week just to get used to it. You can then decide if it’s for you in the long term.
Stretch, Cool Down and Listen to Your Body
You shouldn’t experience joint pain while doing exercises. Your muscles will ache and complain, but none of that such be a twinge in your joints that tells you there’s a problem. Make sure you listen to your body and stop the exercises if you’re not sure. You can also talk to a personal trainer about making sure you do your exercises properly to avoid injury.
All these exercises are excellent for boosting your joint health. Whether you currently have a problem or you just want to avoid one, try out the above and keep your whole body healthy.
Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout. Performing warm-up and cool down exercises will help to get the muscles ready and avoid pulling and tearing while exercising.