For people with joint pain, it’s tempting to lead a sedentary life. After all, not moving puts less strain on the body, right?
However, the fact is that lack of physical activity will actually make things worse, while regular exercise brings you a whole bundle of benefits. It:
- Strengthens your joints
- Helps build muscle that supports your joints
- Can improve pain
- Improves your cardiovascular health
- Helps you lose pounds that put strain on your joints
Exercising the Right Way
It’s important to realize that not all types of exercise are suitable for those with joint issues. Certain types of activity do put extra stress on the body, including anything that involves high impact (running, jumping) or a lot of quick twisting movements (tennis, basketball).
However, there are several good options that gently and effectively strengthen your core, help alleviate pain and slow down joint degeneration.
- Yoga. Yoga is generally a very gentle form of exercise that involves stretching, coordinated breathing, balance and slow movement. However, there are different types of yoga, so do your research and be sure to pick one that’s suited to your ability and that isn’t too rigorous. You may even be able to find a class where you can exercise while sitting down.
- Elliptical. An elliptical machine allows you to move your joints in fluid, circular motions without putting a lot of strain on them. This is also a great way to build up your cardiovascular strength. Most ellipticals allow you to adjust the resistance and slope settings, so you can start easy and build up over time.
- Swimming. Swimming and water aerobics are great because the buoyancy of the water takes a lot of stress off your joints. However, you’re better off with an instructor to help you learn to move properly. If you’ve had joint surgery, check with your doctor before getting in the water to prevent a possible infection.
- Walking. It’s hard to beat walking as a form of exercise. You don’t need any special equipment (except good shoes!) and you can do it practically anywhere. Walking also offers an opportunity to socialize if you find a group to do it with. However, be careful to pick a route with an even surface. Walking over rough ground can be hard on the lower body and presents a tripping hazard.
- Cycling. Whether you stay inside on a stationary bike or head outside into the sunshine, biking is a great form of exercise. Make sure the bike is adjusted so you don’t have to hunch over, and if you find it hurts your back or knees, you may want to consider another form of exercise or a recumbent bike, which supports your back.
Use caution when beginning any exercise program. Take it slow at the beginning while you’re building up strength and don’t overdo!
Also make sure you have the right equipment, particularly good shoes to support your feet, legs and back. A coach or fitness instructor can help you make sure you’re moving correctly to avoid injuring yourself.
If you feel pain or as though you’re straining as you move, stop! Some exercise regimes like yoga may include movements that you find difficult, so you’ll want to substitute ones that are less stressful on your joints. Listen to your body and increase your activity level gradually.
While these 5 exercises are recommended, remember that an exercise program you don’t follow through with won’t help you. If there’s something you prefer, say dancing, be mindful of how you move, be careful not to overexert yourself and stop if you feel pain.
Consult with a Pro
It’s always advisable to consult with a joint specialist before embarking on any exercise regime. The experts at Flexogenix® are here to help you get the most out of an active lifestyle. Because we’re dedicated to doing what’s best for you, we’ll help you strategize ways to improve your mobility, reduce your pain—and help you live your best life. Contact us today!