This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Knee Replacement from Logansport Memorial Hospital.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
Unfortunately, for some people, those three simple words bring to mind their noisy joints and not the famous breakfast cereal. The good news is that there are lots of different ways of being active that you can add to your daily life to improve your joint health as well as your strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility.
Whether trying to ease your arthritis pain or interested in learning what you can do keep your joints healthy, read on to learn more about how working on your fitness can help you keep moving and feeling your best.
Why is exercise good for your joints?
Contrary to popular belief, working out is better for your joints than getting no movement at all—even if you have achy knees, ankles, or hips.
When you exercise, you’re stimulating the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues around your joints, making them stronger. Keeping active also helps these elements work together to act as a brace, providing support for your bones and reducing the pressure that can cause your joints to freeze up or ache.
When it comes to exercising to maintain healthy joints, use some common sense, take precautions to avoid injury, and stick with safer options (including strength training and low-impact aerobic activities) that won’t aggravate any existing joint pain or discomfort you feel.
The right exercise plan will ensure all of these parts of your body work together to act as a brace, providing support for your bones and reducing the pressure that often causes joints to freeze up and ache.
Tips for working out without getting hurt
Workouts that create healthy joints
You can improve your joint health, flexibility, and endurance with a balanced mix of flexibility exercises, aerobic, and muscle strengthening.
Pilates, Tai Chi, and Yoga: Doing these types of flexibility exercises increase your body’s range of motion and prepare your joints for more intense workouts.
Swimming, Walking, and Cycling: Forms of low-impact, aerobic exercise get your heart pumping and improve your stamina without putting too much stress on your joints.
Weight Training: Work with a physical therapist to create a customized program that helps you build muscle tone for greater balance and joint stability.
Warm-ups and cool-downs
Stretch-and-hold motions help your body gear up for exercise. Make time to add simple movements like side twists, arm circles, toe touches, squats, shoulder shrugs, and overhead stretches to the start and finish of your exercise routine.
Other ways to improve joint health
The results you’ll see from regular exercise will be amplified when combined with making other healthy lifestyle changes, like improving your diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
Did you know ... Every pound of body weight that you lose takes at least three pounds of pressure off your knees and around six pounds off your hips? Learn more about other weight loss benefits
Talk to your doctor
If you’re ready to incorporate exercise into your life as a way to promote joint health and lessen joint issues, check with your doctor first. Your primary care provider will provide customized recommendations for clinically-approved exercises to help you get the results you want (especially if it has been some time since you’ve worked on your fitness or if you have a pre-existing medical condition).
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