Whether you have mild osteoarthritis or other joint issues, keeping physically active could allow you to better manage your joint health. Staying active could limit pain, boost your mobility, improve energy levels, and ensure your muscles are strong enough to support your joints. However, it’s crucial that you do the right types of exercise for you and consult your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. Not sure where to begin? Keep reading to understand which simple exercises could enhance your joint health and reduce the risk of injuries.

Exercise for different age groups

Exercise could boost your joint health and prevent the risk of injuries, even if you’re in a younger age bracket and don’t have joint issues.

  • Up to teenage years – Childhood and the teenage years are vital times for joint health, and varying sporting pursuits and avoiding overtraining are important.
  • 20s and 30s – In your 20s and 30s, make sure you prepare before trying to get back to your childhood sports or intensive activities like long-distance running. Watch your posture and stay active as movement boosts your bones, muscles, and joints.
  • 40s to 60s – The risk of joint issues like osteoarthritis increases during these years and keeping your weight in the healthy range could help reduce joint stress. Staying active with low-impact options like walking, swimming, and cycling can be ideal.
  • 70s and beyond – Focus on gentle, varied exercise like walking, aqua aerobics, and Tai Chi; as well as balance-building exercises.

The four main categories of exercise

Those with joint issues should incorporate three types of exercise into their fitness program:

  • Range of movement exercises like swimming and Tai Chi could enhance strength, posture, and flexibility.
  • Strengthening exercises, like weight training, build muscles, which then support your joints.
  • Aerobic exercises, like brisk walking and tennis, work out your heart and support overall fitness.

In addition, make sure you find the right level of activity. Be realistic about how much you can do and how intensive your exercise program should be. Some pain is natural when you’re starting out, but as a general rule, if you’re still in pain two hours after exercising, talk to your physiotherapist or doctor. You should see your doctor immediately if you have a constant, sharp or stabbing pain, pain causing limping, or swelling and pain that doesn’t get better with rest, medication, or hot or cold packs.

Remember: always consult with your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.

1. Aerobic exercises

Getting some aerobic exercise into your exercise program is highly recommended, and if you have joint issues, low-impact aerobic exercises are best as they don’t put stress on your joints. Running tends to be tough on your joints, while activities like swimming take the weight off your joints. Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises are cycling, brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, light gardening, group exercise classes, and dancing.

2. Muscle strengthening exercises

Along with your aerobic activities, do some muscle-strengthening exercises like weight training to build on all your major muscle groups. Do these at least two or more days throughout the week. You could join a gym and work with a trainer if you’re just starting out, but if you’re confident, you could do weight training at home. Use hand weights and resistance bands to boost your muscle power. Squats and lunges are also great muscle-building exercises and they can be done just about anywhere.

3. Flexibility and range of movement exercises

Your fitness program should also include flexibility or range of movement exercises, like stretching, Tai Chi, Pilates, and yoga. People with arthritis, stiff joints, and other joint issues could especially benefit from flexibility exercises. A variety of stretches should be incorporated for the whole body: arms, shoulders, neck, back, hips, and abdomen. Do these daily to help with maintaining a range of motion.

4. Balance exercises

You could also include another type of exercise, balance exercises, into your fitness program. This type of physical activity is designed to help you achieve a good balance and reduce the risk of falling. Examples include walking backwards, the one-leg balance, and the superman pose. These exercises may already be included in your flexibility workout. Try to do these three days a week or more.

Exercising if you have joint issues

If you don’t have specific joint issues, then you’ll want to follow the general tips like avoiding overtraining, staying active, keeping at a healthful weight, and maintaining a good posture. If you do have joint issues, the following tips could be useful. Always check with your doctor if you have any doubts.

  • Workout SMART – The S stands for start slow and go slow. The M means modify your activity when your symptoms increase so you can still stay active. The A stands for activities that are joint friendly, while the R means recognising safe places and ways to be active. Finally, the T means you should talk to your doctor, physiotherapist or other healthcare professionals if you have any doubts.
  • Dealing with pain – It could take six to eight weeks, even longer, for your joints to get used to your new exercise program, so if you experience some pain, modify your exercise by doing less or for shorter sessions. You can also vary your exercise types to do more exercise that’s easier on the joints.
  • Warm up and cool down – Do warm-ups and cool-downs before and after each exercise session. These should minimise your risk of injury and help improve your mobility.
  • Shoes – Make sure you have the right types of shoes for physical exercise. Wear trainers that are designed to give your feet maximum support and act as shock absorbers.

Supporting your joint health

Caring for our joints starts from a young age, and the good news is you could support better joint health and reduce the risk of injuries by staying active and exercising. Incorporate aerobic, muscle-building, flexibility, and balance exercises into your regular exercise schedule, and you could be enjoying great joint health sooner rather than later.

In addition to boosting your exercise, using supplements – such as those with glucosamine and chondroitin – could also help support good joint health. OsteoEze is a joint care specialist, providing a range of glucosamine supplements to help you care for your joints. From prevention to management and mobility, our products may help you achieve better joint outcomes.Contact us today for more information.

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