Joint problems are very common! In fact, 1 in 4 US adults experience joint pain. Having achy joints can make it hard to find the motivation to exercise. In some cases, certain exercises may even make joint pain worse and possibly aggravate injuries. But of course, that doesn’t mean that people with bad joints shouldn’t exercise!
Physical activity is important for all of us. It can help to prevent other health problems from developing such as weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Lack of exercise can also cause joints to seize up and worsen joint injuries, so it’s important to get moving.
But just how should you exercise if you experience joint problems?
Ideally, you want to find a form of low impact exercise which doesn’t put pressure on the joints while still exercising muscles and raising blood pressure. There are a few different forms of low impact exercise that you can try. Here are five great examples:
Swimming is a great form of exercise for those with joint pain due to the buoyancy of the water. This buoyancy helps to support your body weight so that not as much stress is placed on the joints. At the same time, you’re able to have an intense workout and tone up your body.
Consider going to your local swimming pool once or twice per week and doing some lengths of the pool. Alternatively, you could try some wild swimming in the sea or in a local swim-friendly lake.
Cycling is also a low impact exercise that can be great for your joints. It is particularly great for the knee joints – the action of cycling helps produce synovial fluid that lubricates the knee joints.
You can get on a bike and ride around your neighborhood, or you can use a stationary bike at home or at a gym. If you have knee pain, try to take it fairly easy – too much cycling may do your knees more harm than good.
Tai Chi is all about slow movements. Because of this, it can help you improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in joints without aggravating your joints. It’s also a great workout.
The best way to get involved in Tai Chi is to join a Tai Chi class. There are classes as found at taichiforhealthinstitute.org that are focused towards people with health problems such as bad joints. These are the types of classes worth joining.
Yoga is very similar to Tai Chi and focuses on holding movements in positions. You can get a good workout and build flexibility without causing pain to joints.
Yoga classes are a great way to learn the right exercises and meet people. You may find that there are classes in your area that have a rehabilitative focus.
Pilates focuses heavily on posture, muscle strength and joint alignment. It is similar to yoga, but typically challenges you to move your arms and legs while in positions. It is a fantastic exercise for joints (in fact, health of joints is key to Pilates).
The best way to try out Pilates is to join a class. You can find out more about Pilates in your area by searching local websites and Google searches. Or, if you’re in the Cleveland area, you can check out this site: clevelandclinic.org.
It’s worth noting that exercise is not the only thing you can do to support your joints. Diet can also support your joins, too! The healthier you eat, the healthier you move and feel.
Featured Image Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya