Our joints are often abused, overlooked and taken for granted. That is, until they don’t work properly, and then we start to realize what a vital role they play in our daily activities. Overuse, injury, and age can all contribute to joint pain, and while you can’t turn back the clock and give yourself the joints you took for granted as a child, you can take steps to preserve the joint health you have now. Try adding some of these exercises to your daily routine and keep your joints in tip-top shape.
If you think this is just for geriatrics and pregnant women, think again. Water aerobics is a full body workout that builds muscle tone and strength in people of all ages, shapes and sizes. The buoyancy of the water removes pressure from your joints, making it safer than land-based exercise, and if you’re using an indoor pool, the warmth will increase circulation and relieve joint pain.
It’s easy, it’s free and it doesn’t jar your joints. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that reinforces bone density and keeps joints strong. You can alter your walking course to make it as easy or as challenging as you like, but be sure to wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
If you suffer from joint stiffness, yoga is a great way to get your extremities feeling nice and limber again. You’ll learn to combine breathing and stretching with various poses to relieve tension in your muscles and joints. You’ll also improve your balance, which can prevent falls and further preserve your joints. Be sure to notify your instructor if you have any joint pain or arthritis, as there are certain movements you should avoid.
You can’t be a kid again, but you can still feel like one! Bike riding is a great way to build strength in your hips and knees. You can ride outside on a road bike or stay indoors on a stationary bike. Either way, you’ll get a great aerobic workout that’s easy on the joints.
You might be intimidated by the thought of lifting weights, but don’t be. Weight-lifting builds muscle tone, improves overall strength and improves joint function. The weights don’t have to be heavy to be effective, and you should always stay within your range of comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to purchase a few sessions with a personal trainer who can teach you helpful exercises and proper technique (Source: How Stuff Works).